07/05/2001 11:00PM

Canterbury Park: Two-horse Myers


SHAKOPEE, Minn. - The top Minnesota-bred 3-year-olds will get their first serious test of the season in a pair of $40,000 stakes Sunday, the Victor S. Myers Jr. for colts and geldings and the Frances Genter Stakes for fillies. Both races are at six furlongs.

Seven colts and geldings line up in the Victor Myers, but the race has the makings of a two-horse duel between Now Playing and Balin.

Now Playing stamped himself the leader of the Minnesota-bred 2-year-olds last year with a win in the Northern Lights Futurity. In two starts this year, Now Playing has made little impact in a pair of open stakes. He makes his first start against state-bred company this year in the Myers. Regular rider Derek Bell will be aboard Now Playing, who is trained by Bernell Rhone.

Balin finished third in the Northern Lights Futurity but has improved markedly in four starts this year. After a narrow loss to older rival Not So Fast Brutus last month, Balin returned in the St. Paul Stakes and pressed the pace before finishing eighth. Trained by Ted Latour, Balin has perhaps more speed than Now Playing, which should be to his advantage. Juan Rivera has the mount.

Timbia and Blumin Bauble square off in the Frances Genter Stakes.

Timbia captured last year's running of the Northern Lights Debutante to lead the 2-year-old state-bred filly division. In her debut this year, she pressed a rapid pace before tiring in an open allowance two weeks ago. Bell returns in the irons aboard Timbia, who is trained by Vic Hanson.

Blumin Bauble is undefeated in two starts against state-bred company this year, and her daylight margins in each race suggest she could be the filly to beat in the Genter. Jo Black is named to ride for trainer Doug Oliver.