The 19th running of the Festival of Champions, a day reserved for the best Minnesota-breds in the state, showcased some familiar faces Sept. 2 at Canterbury Park in front of a Festival-record crowd of 17,053.
The crowd, the largest of the season, was the fourth largest in Canterbury Park history. Seven-time leading trainer Mac Robertson and jockey Tanner Riggs stamped their places in Canterbury's record book by sweeping the $50,000 Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship and the $50,000 Minnesota Classic Championship with Congrats and Roses and Coconino Slim, respectively.
Additionally, Nomorewineforeddie etched his place in Canterbury Park lore by capturing his third consecutive Minnesota Sprint Championship. Sugar Business set a new stakes record in the Northern Lights Futurity, completing the six furlong juvenile race in 1:10.32.
It was the fastest time in the race's 28 year history, lowering the previous record of 1:10.77 set by Careless Navigator in 2004. Derek Bell was aboard the 2-year-old Tony Rengstorf trainee for owner Curt Sampson of Hector, Minn. Sugar Business was bred by Astar Thoroughbreds of Hastings, Minn.
On-track wagering for the 11-race card totaled $432,978, an increase of 17% compared to 2011 when 10 races were contested. The on-track handle was the largest for the Festival of Champions since 2006 when $472,890 was wagered.