07/04/2009 11:00PM

Fufty Too placed first in Kutz Stakes


SHAKOPEE, Minn. - With over 12,000 fans on hand to watch Friday night's special holiday card, those closest to the proceedings trackside were treated to some early fireworks when jockey Derek Bell was unseated and Big Push was disqualified following his narrow victory in the $50,000 Dean Kutz Stakes at Canterbury.

Eight 3-year olds contested the one-mile turf contest over firm going in a race where Big Push led at every call. Under firm handling from jockey Tracy Hebert, Big Push turned back a challenge from favored Fufty Too racing through the stretch to prevail by a neck, stopping the timer in 1:36.83.

Following the race, the inquiry sign was lit and, while some observers assumed the inquiry was related to some bumping on the turn behind the leaders that caused jockey Derek Bell to lose his stirrups aboard Big Boy Charlie, it became apparent the stewards were investigating some exchange of contact between the first two finishers through the stretch. Moments later Big Push was disqualified and Fufty Too was named the winner. Section F, one of the runners involved in the contact that unseated Bell, finished third three lengths behind the top pair and that placing was allowed to stand.

Scott Stevens rode Fufty Too, who is trained by Mac Robertson for owner Joe Novogratz. The winner returned $6.80 and topped an exacta that paid $24.20.

Joni's Justice lone speed in Blair's Cove

Just six runners contested the $50,000 Blair's Cove Stakes for Minnesota-bred colts and geldings, and the early scratch of Laura's Jinsky, one of only two runners with early speed, left clear sailing for Joni's Justice and jockey Dean Butler.

Under a stout pull racing to the backstretch, Butler had Joni's Justice clear on the lead while being stalked by Cubfanbudman and Sir Tricky. That trio didn't change order through the stretch, with Joni's Justice prevailing by a head over Cubfanbudman, who finished another length clear of third-place finisher Sir Tricky. Joni's Justice completed the 1 1/16 miles over firm going in 1:44.60. The lack of pace blunted the typical late move of favored Wally's Choice, who finished last.

Mac Robertson trains Joni's Justice for owner-breeders Joni and Barry Butzow. This was the first stakes win for the Joni's Justice, a 6-year-old horse by Lit de Justice who finished second by a neck in last year's Blair's Cove.