Mister Marti Gras rallies late to win the Mystic Lake Mile at Canterbury Park.

Mister Marti Gras rallies late to win the Mystic Lake Mile at Canterbury Park.

Coady Photography

Mister Marti Gras Wins First Mystic Lake Mile

Odds-on pick captures Canterbury Park feature; Awesome Flower takes Lady Canterbury.

Mister Marti Gras won the inaugural $125,000 Mystic Lake Mile at Canterbury Park July 13 as the 3-5 favorite, a race after Awesome Flower was victorious in the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes with rider Chris Landeros aboard.

Both stakes were scheduled to be run at one mile on the turf course but a storm that dumped 4 1/4 inches of rain in the Shakopee area during a three-hour period left the grass course soaked. Both races were run on a fast main track at one mile.

Mister Marti Gras is trained by Chris Block for owner/breeder Robert Lothenbach of Eden Prairie, Minn., and was ridden by Francisco Torres.

Torres kept the 6-year-old Belong to Me gelding on the rail, waiting behind four horses until the top of the stretch when he swung three wide and accelerated to victory by three-quarters of a length in 1:38 flat (VIDEO). Stachys was second and pacesetter Wild Jacob finished third.

Canterbury and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of Mystic Lake Casino, entered into a purse enhancement agreement that will add $75 million to the purse structure over the 10-year terms of the deal. One of the results of the agreement is larger stakes purses such as the $125,000 offered in the Mystic Lake Mile as well as larger overnight purses.

"I like what Canterbury has done with the purses," Lothenbach said. "It makes it possible to ship here to race."

Lothenbach had stabled horses at Canterbury years ago but has been racing in other states with more lucrative purses.

"I am shipping four to six horses here Monday to spend the summer," Lothenbach said.

Mister Marti Gras, out of the Cure the Blues mare Miss Marta, paid $3.20 to win.

Lady Canterbury winner Awesome Flower is owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey and is trained by Michael Maker. She paid $13.20 to win. Bryan's Jewel was second and Kune Kune was third.

Landeros and Awesome Flower were off the pace early, gradually moving into contention.

"I took my time getting up there," Landeros said.

The pair engaged Bryan's Jewel in the stretch, inching away to win by one-half length in 1:37.54 (VIDEO).

"I pressed the button and it was time to go," Landeros said. "This filly had a lot of heart."