06/30/2009 11:00PM

Wally's Choice sharp for Blair's Cove


SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Canterbury Park's Friday card will be highlighted by a stakes for Quarter Horses and two Thoroughbred stakes on the turf. In celebration of Independence Day, there will be a concert and fireworks display following the races.

Wally's Choice will be the sentimental favorite in the $50,000 Blair's Cove Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile turf event for Minnesota-bred colts and geldings. Second only to Blair's Cove on the all-time earnings list for Minnesota-breds, Wally's Choice captured the Blair's Cove in the 2005 and 2006, but missed the entire 2007 meeting following an injury. Now an 8-year-old, Wally's Choice has slowly worked his way back into form since returning to the track last season. His most recent victory came two weeks ago at the expense of some of the same statebred rivals he will face in the Blair's Cove. Paul Nolan rides Wally's Choice for owners Curtis Sampson and Wally and Joyce McNeil. He is trained by Michael Biehler.

Trainer Mac Robertson sends out the uncoupled entry of Joni's Justice and Sir Tricky. In last year's renewal, the pair dueled to the wire with Sir Tricky prevailing by a neck over Joni's Justice.

Last year's Minnesota Derby winner, Cubfanbudman, finished fourth in the allowance prep for this event two weeks ago and is eligible to improve in his second try over the turf. He is trained by Bruce Riecken.

Big Push in good form for Kutz

Eight colts and geldings were entered in the $50,000 Dean Kutz Stakes, a mile event on the turf for 3-year olds that is named for the late two-time leading rider at Canterbury and a member of the track's hall of fame who died in 2004 at age 48.

Big Push has competed at six tracks, including Fair Grounds this winter. While not a factor when facing Friesan Fire in the Lecomte Stakes there, Big Push displayed a game streak when just missing to Turfiste in the Black Gold Stakes on the Fair Grounds turf. He won an allowance race last month at Presque Isle following a short freshening. Tracy Hebert will ride Big Push for trainer Richie Scherer.

Minnesota-bred Perfect Bull has demonstrated good form on turf, which makes him a significant player in the Kutz. A winner over the turf at Remington last season, Perfect Bull set the pace for a half-mile in the Tampa Derby before finishing 10th in that dirt race, won by Musket Man. He rebounded with a victory in a Tampa turf allowance in his next appearance.

Big Boy Charlie has been razor sharp while winning three consecutive races at this meeting. The Jer-Mar Stables colorbearer makes his first try on the grass in the Kutz.

Robertson also will saddle Fufty Too in the Kutz. Third in the Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn, Fufty Too won a first-level allowance at Arlington in his most recent appearance.