07/02/2012 1:50PM

Canterbury Park: Starship Duchess is one to catch in Northbound Pride Oaks


SHAKOPEE, Minn – Seven 3-year-old fillies will take to the track Wednesday to contest the $75,000 Northbound Pride Oaks at one mile over the turf.

Louie Roussel III ships in the 8-5 morning-line favorite, Starship Duchess, from Chicago for the contest. Since moving to the turf, Starship Duchess is 3 for 4, with wins at Calder, Gulfstream, and Arlington. In every race since her debut, she’s earned progressively better Beyer Speed Figures, culminating in a field-best 79 in a $40,000 starter allowance at Arlington. That last race was a convincing three-length victory under a very confident ride by Tim Thornton. Thornton will be making the trip north to pilot her in the Northbound Pride, and as the lone speed Starship Duchess is clearly the one to beat.

Banded, coming off a second-place finish in the $60,000 Panther Stakes at Prairie Meadows, will attempt to come from off the pace to defeat Starship Duchess. She has a win and a second in her only two turf tries, both at the Fair Grounds. A $25,000 claim by trainer Richard Scherer, Banded will be looking for her first stakes win.

Wee Highland Lass, one of two runners sent out by Miguel Silva, will hope her stablemate Checkoutmyman will try and push Starship Duchess early, so she can make a run at the favorite late.

Trainer Donnie Von Hemel will ship in Soonerette from Chicago after a seven-week freshener with the hope that she can regain the 2-year-old form that led her to winning the $100,000 Happy Ticket Stakes at Louisiana Downs.

Southern Spice is coming in with a two-race winning streak and is 2 for 3 over the turf, including a win last out in a $25,000 claiming race.

Minnesota Thunder, owned by Canterbury Park Holding Co. chairman Curtis Sampson, rounds out the Northbound Pride Oaks field.