06/17/2005 12:00AM

Noisette goes on a mission


SHAKOPEE, Minn. - The Lady Canterbury Stakes was the centerpiece of the Canterbury Park meet in the track's early days in the 1980's. The $100,000, one-mile race, which will be run again on Sunday, was discontinued in 1999 with the advent of the Claiming Crown, but was returned to the track's stakes calendar in 2003.

That year's Lady Canterbury was won by the Bill Mott-trained Stylish, who used the race as a springboard to graded stakes wins at Monmouth and Saratoga later that year.

This year, Mott has shipped to Canterbury in the hope that she can win her first unrestricted stakes in the Lady Canterbury. Noisette's past performance lines feature a who's who of stakes-winning turf mares - she has finished just behind Aud, Path of Thunder, Snowdrops, and Film Maker over the last two seasons. Noisette, 5, who races for Haras Santa Maria de Araras, finished a fast-closing second in an allowance race at Churchill Downs in her last start, and should not be fazed by the trip to Canterbury Park after racing at four different tracks this season.

Kentucky-based rider Larry Melancon has the call on Noisette and is no stranger to Canterbury Park. He was a regular member of the local jockey colony in the late 1980's.

Trainer Darrin Miller is also familiar with Canterbury Park, having begun his career here in 1995. Miller sends out in the Lady Canterbury, off a recent victory at Churchill Downs against optional claiming foes. Modena Bay has the ability to stalk or set the pace and will be ridden by Canterbury regular Scott Stevens, who won the 1995 Lady Canterbury aboard Go Go Jack.

won in her first start on the Canterbury turf in the Northbound Pride Stakes for 3-year-old fillies last year, and she demonstrated even stronger form when winning the Mary Colleen Stakes at Hawthorne in April. Ghostly Gate finished second in her most recent start, beaten a half-length in the Reluctant Guest Stakes at Arlington. Seth Martinez has the mount for trainer Mac Robertson.

is perfect this year, winning six consecutive races at Fair Grounds, Lone Star, and Louisiana Downs, while working her way up from starter allowance company. Former Canterbury regular Bobby Walker makes the trip from Mountaineer to ride for trainer Dwight Viator.

Rich Find ships in from Churchill Downs following an upset victory in an optional claiming race. Craig Perret rides Rich Find for trainer Greg Foley.