05/15/2013 3:04PM

Canterbury Park: Lady Slipper a rematch of last year's Distaff Sprint

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SHAKOPEE, Minn. – The $50,000 Lady Slipper Stakes for Minnesota-bred fillies and mares is shaping up to be a rematch of last year’s Minnesota Distaff Sprint, with the top five finishers locking horns again in the opening night six-furlong dirt dash.

Leading the way is Minnesota Distaff Sprint champion Polar Plunge, who will be making her 2013 debut. Early in her career the Cam Casby homebred liked to be on the early lead, but trainer Gary Scherer has been able to get her to rate and she should sit behind a contested early pace in the Lady Slipper.

Also making her seasonal debut is the Sprint’s second-place finisher, Gypsy Melody, who had the lead until the run for home when she was outfinished by Polar Plunge by a half-length. Gypsy Melody has never missed the board in any of her seven starts. She can be expected to be close to the early lead on Friday.

Happy Hour Honey returns to the barn of Bernell Rhone after a late-season foray to Chicago to close out 2012. Happy Hour Honey pressed the pace in the Minnesota Distaff Sprint before fading in the stretch to finish third. She’s another who does her best running on the front end.

Hidden Gold was effective from off the pace last year. Her only win of 2012 came in the Lady Slipper. While she outlasted the front-running Polar Plunge in last year’s Lady Slipper, this year could be different given Polar Plunge’s newfound ability to rate.

Midwest Thoroughbreds claimed 6-year old Sasha’s Fierce at Hawthorne and brings her back to Canterbury for the opening-day stakes. Sasha’s Fierce finished second in last year’s Minnesota Distaff Classic.

Minnesota Oaks winner Bert’slittlesister has done her best running on the front end, as has the stakes-placed Jills Summer Raine.

Rounding out the Lady Slipper field are Nebraska stakes winner Terice; allowance winners Depeche, Rita’s Cheetah, and Sputey’s Cabin; as well as Ms Mustanfar, who opened the year with a claiming win at Lone Star.