07/04/2006 12:00AM

Canterbury: Wally's Choice best


Wally's Choice ($3.60) didn't disappoint his many backers in the crowd of 11,872 at Canterbury Park, besting nine statebred foes to capture the $40,000 Blair's Cove Stakes.

A 5-year-old gelding campaigned by Canterbury Park chairman Curtis Sampson and Joyce and Wally McNeil, Wally's Choice was allowed to settle while saving ground early in the 1 1/16-mile turf contest. Entering the backstretch, jockey Martin Escobar switched Wally's Choice outside rivals, and Wally's Choice rushed past his rivals on the second turn to gain the lead. He held on to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths over Bassant, who rallied from last with a four-wide move to finish second. Blue Dancer had traffic trouble on the far turn and took third.

Wally's Choice completed the 1 1/16 miles over firm going in 1:45.05.

Trained by Mike Biehler, Wally's Choice has earned $427,090 and ranks second behind Blair's Cove in career earnings for a Minnesota-bred.