07/29/2017 7:54PM

Hot Shot Kid proves deserving favorite in Minnesota Derby, Double Bee Sting takes Oaks

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Hot Shot Kid turned away a challenge from Got Even Smarter to win Saturday's Minnesota Derby at Canterbury Park.

It was not an easy trip for heavily favored Hot Shot Kid on Saturday afternoon at Canterbury Park in the Minnesota Derby, and a half-furlong from the finish, Hot Shot Kid looked ripe for the taking. But Hot Shot Kid was the 1-5 favorite for good reason, and he turned away a serious challenge from Got Even Smarter to win the $85,000 Minnesota Derby by three-quarters of a length.

The top two were much the best, with Fireman Oscar checking in third, more than eight lengths behind Got Even Smarter. Hot Shot Kid, ridden to victory by Alex Canchari for trainer Mac Robertson and owner and breeder Warren Bush, ran one mile 70 yards on a fast track in 1:42.91 and paid a paltry $2.40 for winning his fifth race in a row.

Hot Shot Kid took up a comfortable tracking position early as Got Even Smarter went an opening quarter-mile in 23.75 seconds, but then, for some reason, 21-1 shot Sizzler ranged up three or four paths wide at the head of the backstretch to challenge for and eventually make the lead. You could see Canchari steal a glance to his outside and almost feel him thinking, “What, exactly, is going on here?” With no good option, Canchari eased Hot Shot Kid along the rail inside Sizzler as the pair went a half-mile in 47.46. But that was a pretty serious fraction for a Minnesota-bred two-turn dirt race, and while Hot Shot Kid disposed of Sizzler around the far turn, Got Even Smarter had followed Hot Shot Kid up the fence and came with his run after straightening for home. He had all the momentum and drew abreast Hot Shot Kid past the eighth pole, but Hot Shot Kid had a quick and ready answer and was drawing away again at the finish.

Hot Shot Kid, a gelding, is by Majestic Warrior and out of Our Sweet Mary B, by Officer. His record now stands at 5-3-1 from 10 starts.

'Bee' stings Oaks rivals

Twice as many turns as she’d ever raced provided zero impediment to Double Bee Sting winning the $85,000 Minnesota Oaks.

Trying a route after sprinting in her first seven starts, Double Bee Sting stalked fractions of 23.06 and 48.17 under Jareth Loveberry, took command while racing wide past the three-furlong pole, and ran alone through the homestretch, wining by six lengths. Two Be Royal finished second, 2 1/4 lengths in front of Pinup Girl.

Trained by Tony Rengstorf, Double Bee Sting showed promise last year at age 2 and has come considerably forward this season. She was coming off a second-place finish in the $50,000 Frances Genter, a Minnesota-bred 3-year-old filly sprint stakes, and ran to her pedigree in her first start over a route of ground. She was timed in 1:43.54 and paid $4 as the even-money favorite.

Double Bee Sting, a Curtis Sampson homebred, is Minnesota-bred in name only as a daughter of the young sire Stay Thirsty and the Arch mare Itsadouble G Thing. The filly’s record is 8-3-1-2 following her first stakes win.

◗ First-time starter Familiar Rhythm won the heavily restricted MTA Sales Futurity by a neck over Magic Cowboy. Familiar Rhythm ($15.60) is trained by Francisco Bravo for owner and breeder Jeff Kerber. She’s by Algorithms and out of the Officer mare I Know You Know.