07/04/2016 10:12AM

Two-stakes sweep for trainer Mac Robertson

Coady Photography
Dear Fay wins the Princess Elaine Stakes for the second time in three years at Canterbury on Sunday night.

Dear Fay might be a 7-year-old, but she was full of life Sunday night at Canterbury Park, winning the $60,000 Princess Elaine Stakes for the second time in three years and leading a sweep of the card’s two turf stakes for trainer Mac Robertson.

One race after Dear Fay scored her eye-catching win, the Robertson-trained A P Is Loose won the $60,000 Blaire’s Cove for the second year in a row.

The twilight program at Canterbury, racing followed by fireworks, attracted a huge crowd of 21,453. On-track handle on the day was $464,763, all sources handle was $1,237,795.

Dear Fay, bred and owned by Bo Vujovich, was making her first start since November, but Robertson nonetheless had her set to tilt. Always in the bridle and traveling strongly for jockey Erik McNeil, Dear Fay rated in fifth behind her stablemate Shaboom’s fast splits of 22.81 and 47.05. On the far turn, horse and rider apparently could wait no longer, McNeil letting his mount go with close to three furlongs still left in the race. In many cases that move would have been premature, but Dear Fay exploded to the front, opened a huge lead in upper stretch, and coasted home a 3 1/2-length winner. Fiona Cat did her best work late to edge another Robertson charge, Thunder and Honey, for second, with Shaboom holding third.

Dear Fay was timed in 1:42.84 for 1 1/16 miles over a very firm grass course and paid $10 to win. She had been a comfortable winner of the Princess Elaine in 2014, but after making a move similar to Sunday’s in the race’s 2015 edition she was run down in deep stretch and finished second. By Ghazi, and out of the Nordic Legend mare Frances Geraldine, Dear Fay won for the eighth time in 28 starts and pushed her bankroll past $200,000.

A P Is Loose wasted little time asserting his superiority in the Blaire’s Cove. Under Geovanni Franco, he was caught three wide on the first turn while contesting the pace, Franco soon abandoning any pretense of tactical complexity and letting his mount run to the front. A P Is Loose got away with a moderate pace, passing the half-mile in 48.07,  took a 4 1/2-length lead to the stretch call, and never was threatened despite drifting to the outside of the course in the final furlong. He was timed in 1:43.01 for 1 1/16 miles and paid $4 as the heavy favorite. Two Chance finished a clear second followed by Vanderbilt Beach.

A P Is Loose, a Joel Zamzow homebred, is by Monarchos and out of the Stalwart mare Masquerade Star. Admirably consistent, he ran his career record to 6-3-5 from 20 starts.