07/31/2002 11:00PM

J. P. Jet tries to carry his speed two turns


SHAKOPEE, Minn. - J. P. Jet will be the clear favorite in the $50,000-added Minnesota Derby for statebred 3-year-olds Saturday at Canterbury Park. Also Saturday, statebred 3-year-old fillies will run in the $50,000-added Minnesota Oaks.

J. P. Jet dominated last year in the Northern Lights Futurity here. He looked just as impressive this year when he captured the Victor S. Myers Jr. Stakes in June by four lengths.

J. P. Jet faces questions about his ability to handle the mile and 70-yard distance of the Minnesota Derby. He has never raced beyond six furlongs, but may be able to carry his abundant early speed. Derek Bell is J. P. Jet's regular rider, and he rides Saturday.

J. P. Jet has eight challengers. Frosty Prince, a half-brother to 1995 horse of the meet and Minnesota champion 3-year-old filly Argenti, simply galloped away from the field in the MTA Stallion Auction Stakes three weeks ago. Frosty Prince finished third behind J. P. Jet in the Myers Stakes in his previous outing, on a day of near 100-degree heat.

Winnipeg shipper Winaferd makes his first start with statebreds in the derby after having raced his entire career at Assiniboia Downs. A winner of a restricted stakes last month, Winaferd has valuable route experience.

The Minnesota Oaks has 11 entrants and no clear-cut favorite.

Lakeville, who has steadily improved in her six races, may prove a slight favorite in the Oaks. After having a troubled trip and finishing second in the Frances Genter Stakes, Lakeville returned to win the filly division of the MTA Stallion Auction stakes last month. Lakeville will break from the rail in the Oaks. Paul Nolan, her regular rider, is aboard Saturday.

Susie Blues won the Northern Lights Debutante last year by better than eight lengths, but finished third in the Frances Genter Stakes. A front-running filly, Susie Blues will be ridden by leading rider Derek Bell.

Demiparfait made a strong late move to overhaul Lakeville in the Frances Genter Stakes in June, then broke slowly in the MTA Auction Stakes. Demiparfait will need to overcome post 11 to prevail in the Oaks. Tho Nguyen is her regular rider, and he rides Saturday.