06/06/2013 2:19PM

Canterbury Park: Midwest Thoroughbreds pair top Dark Star Cup


Midwest Thoroughbreds will start a pair of contenders in the inaugural $50,000 Dark Star Cup for 3-year olds and up Saturday at Canterbury Park. The 6 1/2-furlong race honors Minnesota media legend, Dark Star, aka George Chapple, an ambassador for Minnesota racing and a member of the Canterbury Hall of Fame. Dark Star, who hosted the Canterbury Report replay show for more than 20 years, died June 1, 2012.

Southern Dude will make the trip here from Churchill Downs for the Dark Star. Though coming off a pair of turf sprints, a third in the Grade 3 Churchill Downs and a win in the Bayou St. John Stakes, the 5-year old gelding also is stakes placed on dirt and sports a front-running victory in his debut this season in an optional claimer at Fair Grounds. Looking like the lone speed here, Southern Dude is the one to beat.

Hoping to close into that early speed will be the other portion of the uncoupled Midwest entry, Signsealndeliver. Signsealndeliver was able to shrug off a flat debut in an allowance at Hawthorne to bounce back and win in the Robert S. Molaro Handicap on Illinois Champions Day.

Bet Seattle, winner of the Honor the Hero Stakes, completely changed running styles for his off-the-pace victory on Memorial Day for trainer Mac Robertson. Generally a front-runner, Bet Seattle came from eighth over a soft turf course to score at 11-1. Robertson also saddles Oaklawn transplant Ismael Grande for Novogratz Racing Stables.

Last year’s Shot of Gold Stakes winner I’ll Show Them has been working strongly off a break from Hawthorne, firing two bullet works in the last three weeks in preparation for the Dark Star. I’ll Show Them will look to sit just off the pace and pick up the pieces late. Joining him in a stalking position should be Turf Paradise stakes winner Absolutely Cool.