05/19/2005 11:00PM

Swasti back to defend title

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Swasti will try to defend her title against nine rivals Sunday in the $40,000 Lady Slipper Stakes for Minnesota-bred fillies and mares at Canterbury Park.

A 5-year-old, Swasti was claimed for $35,000 on May 3 and will race for new owner Connie Phillips and trainer David Van Winkle. The May 3 race was the first of the season for Swasti, who rallied smartly to finish second in the optional claiming event on the turf. That move should set her up nicely for a race that should feature a rapid pace. Derek Ball rides.

Mac Robertson, the former trainer of Swasti, will be well represented in the Lady Slipper with Nilini, who won last year's Minnesota Oaks. Like Swasti, Nilini employs a late-running style, and she prepped for her local debut with a start over the turf at Hawthorne. Seth Martinez will ride.

Should the early pace not prove too taxing, Shakopee rates a chance. He used a front-running trip to upset last season's Frances Genter Stakes and set all the pace before finishing second to Swasti in the Minnesota Distaff Sprint Championship. Shakopee figures to improve on that form as a 4-year-old. Iram Diego will ride.

Isle See You Later just missed as the 6-5 favorite in an allowance test on opening weekend at Canterbury Park. Trained by Mike Stidham for Phillip Maas, Isle See You Later won her maiden at Fair Grounds in January in her first start and finished second in a subsequent optional claiming event. Paul Nolan has the call.