Updated on 09/15/2011 12:19PM

Finally, a Canterbury race run on grass


SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Following a week of rain, Canterbury Park handicappers will get a chance to sink their teeth into the season's first turf racing this weekend. They find a challenging assignment in the competitive $100,000 Canterbury Park Breeders' Cup Derby, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds.

Rahy's Secret merits favoritism in the field of eight, having finished a good third in the Hawthorne Derby three weeks ago. In that race, Rahy's Secret tracked a slow pace but still finished well to close the gap on the winner, Kalu.

Trained by Steve Hobby and owned by Keith Plaisance, Rahy's Secret demonstrated an early affinity for the turf with a galloping win when first tried on the surface at Fair Grounds in December. In his next start, he captured the Black Gold Handicap while beating productive grass company. A repeat of his last effort might be enough to see him clear at the wire in the Canterbury Derby. Tim Doocy has been named to ride.

Determining which runner might set the pace is no small matter, as the last two runnings of the Derby have been captured by runners who were forwardly placed. Without a definitive pacemaker in this race, an upset is distinctly possible. Fan Club's Mister, trained by Rickey Harris, might be the runner who finds the front early. Fan Club's Mister comes into the Derby off a solid, pace-pressing win over the turf against allowance foes at Hawthorne Park. His connections made an effort to secure a repeat performance by naming Randy Meier for a return engagement.

Big Will, who just missed when second to Bonnie Scot in the Presidents Stakes at Turfway in February, ships from Kentucky to try the Derby. A son of Peaks and Valleys, Big Will exits an allowance contest at Churchill Downs in which he finished fifth, beaten less than three lengths. A slight improvement off that effort puts him in contention.

Another dangerous longshot is Rocinante, who comes into the Derby off a turf win over older allowance foes at Hawthorne.

Rounding out the field in a contest in which no runner can be thrown out are Lucky Bluff, Top Secret Affair, Zen's Silverbuck, and Admonition.