Burgart Blog: Canterbury and Grants Pass Challenge Races
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Burgart Blog: Canterbury and Grants Pass Challenge Races

By Ed Burgart

Q-RACING—JULY 2, 2021—While some logical favorites, headed by Danjer, the 2020 AQHA champion aged horse and aged gelding, figure to dominate Canterbury Park regional AQHA challenge races on July 6, the Adequan® Grants Pass Derby Challenge on July 5 offers wagering value to those who closely watch video-tape replays.

The winners of the three Canterbury Park Challenge races, along with the first-place finisher in the Grants Pass Derby Challenge, earn berths to their respective Challenge finals to be conducted on Bank of America Challenge Championship night October 23 at the Downs at Albuquerque.

Seattle Cartel, starting from the No. 9 post deserves the 4-1 morning-line favorite's role in the 400-yard Grants Pass Derby Challenge, but No. 2 Jess Ozzy at 8-1 and No. 4 Marcelino at 10-1 shouldn't be overlooked. Seattle Cartel impressed in posting the fastest qualifying time of :19.61 when beating rival Lionized by a half length. After breaking quickly while veering inward, Seattle Cartel leveled nicely during the final 1/16. He has two wins in three lifetime outs.

But Jess Ozzy, who finished sixth in his trial, was eliminated at the start when he broke slow and was shut off when Seattle Cartel shifted inward soon after the start. Jess Ozzy previously dropped a nose setback versus older horses when running a quick :15.36 at 300 yards.

Marcelino appeared best when third behind finalist Relentless Six in the slower of the two trials. Marcelino lugged inward to get bumped off stride at intervals before finishing with a flourish while only beaten three-quarters of a length by Relentless Six.

Thus, my selections are Seattle Cartel, Jess Ozzy and Marcelino.

At Canterbury Park, stretch-running Ms Esther is my pick to capture the AQHA Distance Challenge regional final. Ms Esther gets the coveted rail with a quick run into the far turn over the 1-mile Canterbury oval. Ms Esther arrives sharp from Remington Park and was only beaten a nose behind Bubba Bad two outs ago. Bubba Bad since captured two Fair Meadows 870-yard races, one of which was the Expo Square Stakes.

Cold Brewster and Faster Than Hasta are two of Ms Esther's main contenders and both should ensure quick fractions to suit Ms Esther's late run.

In the Q-Racing Video Canterbury Distaff Challenge, No. 6 Apollitical Mogul is my pick to upset 12-time winner Lynnder 16, who starts from the outside No. 7 post. Apollitical Mogul defeated open company in her last nose victory over seven-time winner Kowboy Jim at Canterbury two weeks ago. Apollitical Mogul is a course specialist, having been no worse than third in nine Canterbury starts.

Lynnder 16 is a classy distaffer who won last year's AQHA Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) and has $699,968 in lifetime earnings. She also is undefeated in two Canterbury starts.

And in the Bank of America Canterbury Championship Challenge, No. 3 Danjer is certain to be lower than his 3-5 morning-line odds. He won last year's Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) at Albuquerque. In his last outing, he rallied to post a neck win in the Debbie Schauf Remington Park Invitational (G1) when defeating Apollitical Pence, the 2020 Champion of Champions (G1) winner. Juice Is Loose, who breaks from Post 2, is my exacta partner with Danjer. Juice Is Loose lugged inward early and finished nicely for third in his last Remington Park allowance.

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