06/09/2004 11:00PM

Canterbury: Two meet again


SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Twelve colts and geldings with combined earnings of over $2 million make for an attractive betting contest in the $40,000 Brooks Fields Stakes.

A 7 1/2-furlong turf race named for Canterbury's founder, the Brooks Fields features a rematch between Al's Dearly Bred and Native Hawk, the first two finishers in last season's John Bullit Stakes.

Al's Dearly Bred is undefeated in four starts over the Canterbury Park turf course, including a victory in the 2002 renewal of the Brooks Fields. Following last season's Canterbury Park meeting, Al's Dearly Bred shipped to Chicago, where he finished second by a half-length to Mystery Giver in the

Grade 3 Carey Memorial. Unplaced in three subsequent tries in Florida this year, Al's Dearly Bred has yet to recover that form, but has been working steadily for his return over the Canterbury main track. Seth Martinez has been aboard Al's Dearly Bred in each of his local victories and will ride again Saturday.

Native Hawk was a lightly raced 3-year-old when he finished second in last season's John Bullit Stakes, but he has since gained valuable experience that may help him turn the tables on Al's Dearly Bred. After winning a turf allowance by five lengths, Native Hawk finished third in the Tampa Bay Downs Breeders' Cup behind Burning Roma and Remind. Native Hawk tuned up for the Brooks Fields two weeks ago in the five-furlong Honor the Hero Stakes, chasing Tonight Rainbow, who set a track record that night. Paul Nolan will ride Native Hawk once again in the Brooks Fields.

Trainer Bernell Rhone entered two proven turf performers in the Fields, the uncoupled entry of Don'tbotherknocking and Now Playing. Don'tbotherknocking finished third in last season's John Bullit, and Now Playing was named last season's Minnesota-bred turf champion.