08/31/2009 11:00PM

Favorites come home on festival day


SHAKOPEE, Minn. - The 10,351 fans who came to watch the Festival of Champions card at Canterbury Park were treated to several memorable performances on the Sunday card dedicated to runners bred in Minnesota.

On a day when favorites ruled, Bet Your Boots began the proceedings with a popular win by winning the $60,000 Northern Lights Futurity.

Sent off as the 7-10 favorite in the field of six 2-year old statebreds, Bet Your Boots was sent along to collar pacesetting Gladden's Bromance and shook clear to prevail by 3 3/4 lengths, completing the six furlongs in 1:12.74 on a fast track. Rustic Road finished second another four lengths clear of Tsar Tops Dancer.

Paul Nolan rode Bet Your Boots ($3.40), who is trained by Troy Bethke for owner-breeders Richard Bremer and Cheryl Sprick.

* The $50,000 Minnesota Distaff Championship had a field of seven fillies and mares, but all eyes were on Chick Fight, who was made a 2-5 favorite.

Under rider Dean Butler, the 3-year filly didn't disappoint, stalking an easy pace and moving clear on the far turn to prevail by 6- 1/2 lengths, completing the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.49. Minnesota Mafia rallied for second, besting Pretty as a Smile, who was compromised when she reared at the start.

With her victory in the Distaff Championship, Chick Fight ($2.80) sealed Horse of the Meet honors for owner-breeders Jeff and Deb Hilger's Bleu Valley Farm. Chick Fight is trained by Mac Robertson.

* Butler's winning streak continued when he guided Perfect Bull to victory in the $50,000 Minnesota Classic Championship, besting five rivals.

Completing a pick three sequence that returned $4.20 following the victories of Bet Your Boots and Chick Fight, Perfect Bull lived up to his 3-5 favoritism, breaking sharply, then attending the pace of Suddenly Silver before moving to command, drawing clear by 5 1/2 lengths. Suddenly Silver held second from third-place Silver Wilbur. Perfect Bull ($3.20) completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.59.

Butler's father-in-law, Bernell Rhone, trains Perfect Bull, a homebred who races in the colors of the Red Dog Stables of Brett and Chad Holtz.

* Her Sweet Saint overcame some trouble at the start to capture the $60,000 Northern Lights Debutante, prevailing over seven other 2-year old filly rivals.

Under firm handling from Ry Eikleberry, Her Sweet Saint recovered quickly after bobbling, then being bumped at the start to join the leaders racing along the rail. Drawing clear of those foes on the turn, Her Sweet Saint ($8) drew away by 4 3/4 lengths, completing the six furlongs in 1:13.70. Becker County Miss rallied late for second, edging favorite Hidden Gold.

Vic Hanson trains Her Sweet Saint for owner Wayne Simon, who purchased her as the sales-topping roan filly at last year's Minnesota Thoroughbred yearling auction.

* Sarahs Son ($8) benefited from a chilly ride from jockey Derek Bell, as they rallied from the back of the field to prevail over five rivals in the $35,000 Minnesota Turf Championship.

Trainer Mac Robertson saddled the top three runners in the Turf Championship field. Robertson's charge Joni's Justice set the pace, then skirmished with favored Seasahm racing through the stretch while edging forward of that foe late, but was collared in the final strides by Sarahs Son, who prevailed by a neck.

The winner completed the mile over firm going in 1:37.28. Sarahs Son is a homebred campaigned by the Jer-Mar Stable of Jerry and Marlene Myers.

* The performance of the day came from Bella Notte, who drilled six filly and mare rivals into submission when capturing the $50,000 Minnesota Distaff Sprint Championship.

Engaging stablemate Thanks for the Tip from the outset, Bella Notte opened daylight on that rival after a half-mile, then surged away from the field, drawing clear by 15 lengths while being taken in hand by rider Derek Bell in the closing strides. Shot of Silver rallied from last, just edging Thanks for the Tip to capture second.

A homebred campaigned by Art and Gretchen Eaton and trained by Mac Robertson, Bella ($2.60) Notte completed the six furlongs in 1:09.53.

* Robertson saddled his fourth Festival winner in the $50,000 Minnesota Sprint Championship when Bizet prevailed in a roughly run contest where catastrophe was narrowly averted.

Six of the eight starters in the Sprint contested the early pace, with Bizet racing widest on the backstretch. As the field approached the bend, several runners exchanged contact, forcing runners near the inside to relinquish their positions. Four runners continued to dispute the pace on the turn, and another round of bumping saw L'Etoile Du Nord clip heels, then stumbled, losing rider Nik Goodwin, who fortunately avoided serious injury when he was missed by the trailing field.

Bizet ($7.20) continued to press outside A Steel Trap as that pair drew well clear of the field and edged away late to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths, completing the six furlongs in 1:09.90. A Steel Trap finished another 7 3/4 lengths clear of favorite Nomorewineforeddie, who finished third.

Bizet races for owner-breeder Olaf "Bing" Strand and was ridden to victory by Derek Bell.