Canterbury Park will host the fourth annual Northern Stars Turf Festival on Saturday, June 22. The evening of racing includes five turf stakes or handicaps on an eight-race program that begins at 5:10 p.m.

The Turf Festival has produced the largest single-day handle total of the season in each of its first three renditions, peaking with $4,737,428 in 2022. The featured races are the $50,000 Canterbury Derby, $50,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes, $50,000 Brooks Fields Mile, $40,000 Curtis Sampson Oaks Handicap and $40,000 Dark Star Turf Sprint Handicap.

Trainer Wesley Ward, a multiple graded stakes winning trainer that has won more than 2,200 races during a career that began in 1991, will send two horses to the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack. Navy Seal will run in the Canterbury Derby at one mile on the turf. This will be the Irish-bred Navy Seal’s first start in the United States, having raced in Ireland, France and most recently at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai where the 3-year-old finished fifth in the Grade 2 UAE Derby on March 30.

Ward has had just one start at Canterbury. In 2014 he saddled Politicallycorrect in the Dark Star Turf Sprint where he finished fourth. On Saturday Ward will attempt to win the five-furlong Dark Star with graded stakes sprinter Arrest Me Red, the 5 to 2 morning line favorite in the evening’s fifth race. David Flores will ride both horses for Ward. Flores has won 108 graded stakes including the Santa Anita Handicap, the Pacific Classic and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. He began his riding career in 1984.

The 32nd Lady Canterbury Stakes at one mile on the grass will be the third race. Midnight Current, 2022 horse of the meet and one of five state-bred fillies and mares in the seven-horse field, is the 9 to 5 favorite. She is trained by last year’s top trainer Joel Berndt and will be ridden by Eduardo Gallardo. Midnight Current makes her second start of 2024, having finished second in her seasonal debut June 1 at Canterbury. She finished second in the 2023 Lady Canterbury. Likely pacesetter Thunders Rocknroll drew the outside post and will be ridden by Alonzo Quinonez.

Another jockey with the Quinonez surname can be found in the Northern Stars lineup. Canterbury Park Hall of Fame rider Luis Quinonez returns to the Shakopee oval. He is the older brother of Alonso. Luis rode regularly at Canterbury from 1995 through 1999, winning the jockey title each of those five seasons. He made periodic appearances over subsequent years. He last rode locally in 2018, finishing seventh on his only mount. His last local win was in the HBPA Distaff in 2014. Luis Quinonez, who has 4,011 career wins, will face Alonzo in the Sampson Oaks and Brooks Fields Mile. Luis also has a mount in the Canterbury Derby.

Two Pick 5 wagers will be offered Saturday beginning in the first and fourth races. Canterbury’s Pick 5 offers an industry-low 10 percent takeout, resulting in a larger portion of the wagering pool being returned to winning bettors.

More information is available at

(info and photos courtesy of Canterbury Park)

Share this: