06/30/2006 11:00PM

Canterbury: Wally's Choice tops Blair's Cove


On his quest to break the all-time earnings record set by Minnesota-bred Blair's Cove, Wally's Choice returns home to face 10 rivals in the $40,000 Blair's Cove Stakes at Canterbury Park, a 1 1/16-mile turf event restricted to statebreds.

Owned by Canterbury Park chairman Curtis Sampson in partnership with Wally and Joyce McNeil, Wally's Choice has dominated the statebred ranks ever since he won the Minnesota Derby here in 2004. The winner of the Bosselman/Gus Fonner Handicap this year, Wally's Choice will be trying to win his second consecutive Blair's Cove Stakes. Martin Escobar was named to ride Wally's Choice, who is trained by Mike Biehler.

Wally's Choice has career earnings of $403,090 and trails Blair's Cove by $130,000.

Sampson will be represented by an uncoupled entry, as Lt. Sampson was also entered in the Blair's Cove. Lt. Sampson has won 3 of 4 starts over the Canterbury Park turf, capped with a strong performance over statebred foes last season in the Minnesota Turf Championship. Derek Ball has the call on Lt. Sampson, who is also trained by Biehler.

Vazandar finished a midpack sixth in a competitive running of the Brooks Fields Stakes last month and should appreciate a return to statebred competition. Israel Ocampo rides Vazandar for trainer Jamie Ness and owner Kissoon Thoroughbreds.

Biehler also entered Roust About, a 4-year-old Petionville gelding, in the Blair's Cove. He merits a second look after finishing third in a recent turf allowance.