08/04/2012 7:08PM

Canterbury Park: Ruthville takes Lady Canterbury by a length

Coady Photography @ Canterbury Park
Before the Lady Canterbury, Dean Butler was aboard Tickleyourfancy winning the Princess Elaine.

SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Trainer Michael Stidham has taken a liking to Canterbury Park's new purse structure, capping a sweep of the two major stakes of the season with the victory of Ruthville in the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes.

Locally stabled Rare Sunset shot off to a big early lead under jockey Geovanni Franco and blistered through fractions of 23.06 and 46.62 seconds. With her lead as much as seven lengths down the backstretch, Stidham assistant Chris Davis wasn't concerned.

"If this was a firm course, I might have been concerned," Davis said.  "With the rain last night and this morning, the turf was a little soft and I didn't think there was any question with those fractions that she would come back."

Tiring noticeably heading into the stretch, the pace began to take its toll on Rare Sunset, and jockey Dean Butler aboard Ruthville took full advantage.

"Mr. Stidham told me to tell Dean to do what you want with her," Davis continued. "She's a real honest mare, and she always tries.  You can't ask for anything more.  We just wanted Dean to put her in a position to win, and he did."

Ruthville closed sharply and held off the hard-charging Bryan's Jewel to win the one-mile Lady Canterbury by a length in 1:11.39. Zaphyra was third. Stidham won the inaugural $150,000 Mystic Lake Derby last Saturday with Hammers Terror.

Butler, winner of four races on the day, also won the $50,000 Princess Elaine Stakes on the turf with a wire to wire ride aboard Tickleyourfancy.

"She's more mature this year and has really figured out what this is all about," said winning trainer Francisco Bravo.  Tickleyourfancy won by 2 3/4 lengths, paid $6.80 to win and covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:44.26.

The $50,000 Hoist Her Flag was also won in wire to wire fashion by Iowa invader Starlite Starbrite.  She covered the six furlongs in 1:10.19 and paid $7.40 as the favorite, winning by 2 3/4 lengths.