07/07/2004 11:00PM

Lt. Sampson steps into stakes

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SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Just seven Minnesota-bred colts and geldings contest the $40,000 Victor S. Myers Jr. Stakes Saturday, but the talent assembled in the prep race for the Minnesota Derby suggests this will be a renewal to remember.

Also on Saturday, nine 3-year-old statebred fillies are entered in the $40,000 Frances Genter Stakes, a prep for the Minnesota Oaks.

Lt. Sampson, a winner of two of his three races this year, will be among the favorites in the six-furlong Myers. Lt. Sampson won his maiden by 9 1/4 lengths in his first outing this season and bested allowance foes last month in a manner that suggests he has plenty more to offer. Leading rider Derek Bell will be aboard Lt. Sampson.

Kissoon Thoroughbreds and trainer Hugh Robertson have already teamed up to win the Lady Slipper and Come Summer stakes this meeting. They send a strong uncoupled entry in Vazandar and Vasant in the Myers.

Vasant captured the Northern Lights Futurity last season. In his only start this year he finished fourth in an allowance race on the turf.

Vazandar bested Lt. Sampson in an allowance contest on Memorial Day weekend and then returned to defeat open company in the Come Summer Stakes on turf last month.

* In the Frances Genter Stakes, also at six furlongs, a maiden has a chance to win.

Lilstarshines made a promising debut at Arlington last month, rallying from ninth place to miss by a head in a $35,000 maiden claiming test.

Kissoon Thoroughbreds and Roberston are represented in the Genter by the uncoupled entry of Nishani and Nilini. Nishani won her maiden at this meeting in May and has since finished in the money in two allowance tries. Nilini has won twice at this meeting while facing statebred foes.