07/29/2010 3:00PM

Hunter's Tiger Paw tries dirt in Minnesota Oaks


SHAKOPEE, Minn. – Hunter’s Tiger Paw will put her three-race win streak on the line in the $60,000 Minnesota Oaks Saturday at Canterbury Park. The mile and 70-yard Oaks will be her first start on a conventional dirt surface.

Also on the card is the $60,000 Minnesota Derby, which will feature Bet Your Boots, winner of the Victor S. Myers Jr. Stakes here on July 17.

Hunter’s Tiger Paw began her career at Woodbine with trainer Ian Black. She won her maiden on Polytrack by an increasing 2  1/4 lengths in her second start this season for a $32,000 claiming price. She followed that up at Woodbine, going gate-to-wire against first-level allowance company in a five-horse field as the longest shot on the board. She was then shipped to Canterbury for the July 4 Northbound Pride Stakes, a one-mile turf race. Jockey Eddie Martin Jr. took her back off the pace and she won her grass debut by a neck after being 9 1/2 lengths out of it early on. She earned a career high Beyer of 85.

If anyone in the field can challenge Hunter’s Tiger Paw, it’s Tickleyourfancy, who has been running against some of the best older fillies on the grounds. She finished second, a half-length behind the 4-year-old multiple stakes winner Bella Notte, in the Princess Elaine Stakes on June 20, but followed that effort up with a third-place finish against Hunter’s Tiger Paw in the Northbound Pride.

Minnesota’s best two year-old of 2009, Her Sweet Saint, will break from far outside with jockey Derek Bell aboard. She is coming into the Oaks after winning the $35,000 Frances Genter Stakes by a nose two weeks ago. Two starts back, she finished last of nine behind Hunter’s Tiger Paw in the Northbound Pride.

Minnesota Derby: A competitive field of 10

Bet Your Boots highlights a wide-open field of 10 in the $60,000 Minnesota Derby. A son of Birdstone, he will be looking for his third consecutive stakes victory. He won the Victor S. Myers Stakes as the even-money favorite. Prior to that, he won the $30,000 Golden Boy Stakes at Assiniboia Downs. Bet Your Boots will be tested in the mile and 70-yard Derby as he has never won beyond six furlongs.

Erv the Banker is an interesting longshot play at 12-1 on the morning line. Typically, maidens do not run well in stakes, but Erv the Banker is improving at the right time. He looked very comfortable finishing second in a mile maiden race in his last start despite encountering traffic troubles.