Broadway Empire is the 2-1 favorite in the Canadian Derby.

Broadway Empire is the 2-1 favorite in the Canadian Derby.

Cody Gregory

Broadway Empire Heads Packed Canadian Derby

Shippers Reporting Star, Title Contender among dozen entered at Northlands Aug. 17.

Local stakes winner Broadway Empire is the 2-1 favorite in a full field of 12 3-year-olds drawn for the $200,000 Canadian Derby (Can-III) Aug. 17, the highlight of the racing season at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta.

Shippers Reporting Star and Title Contender should help make the 1 3/8-mile event an interesting affair. The race's 84th renewal is the 12th of 13 on the Saturday card at the five-eighths oval, with a scheduled post time of 5:45 p.m. MDT in the Western Canadian province.

Smashing 7 1/4-length winner of a key Canadian Derby prep, the Ky Alta Handicap July 6, Broadway Empire drew toward the outside in post 11 for trainer Robert Diodoro and owners Bob Butz, Randy Howg, and Rick Running Rabbit.

The imposing son of Empire Maker  was purchased privately from Bob Bone and breeder Mercedes Stable in February and made his debut March 18 with a 16 1/2-length maiden score at Turf Paradise. Shipped to Betfair Hollywood Park after that, he ran second in the Came Home Stakes before weakening to sixth against the big boys in the Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) June 2. The bay gelding moved to Canada after that.

"We had several discussions with the owners about what to do," said Diodoro, who leads the current Northlands Park trainer standings with 29 victories through Aug. 14. "We had mixed emotions about running him at Northlands cause he’s so big and the tight turns were a concern. But I lobbied to bring him to Northlands and the owners are from Alberta, so it made sense.

"He was very immature when we got him," Diodoro added. "But with each start and each work he really does seem to be improving."

Broadway Empire has trained up to the Canadian Derby with three works over the local track, including a bullet five-furlong move of 1:01 1/5 in his most recent Aug. 9. He will be ridden by Rico W. Walcott, the runaway leader in the Northlands Park jockey standings with 90 victories. Walcott won the 2010 Canadian Derby aboard No Hesitation.

Diodoro, an Alberta native, also entered Rick Wiest's Smart Promotion, a son of Smart Strike who is undefeated in three starts. The speedy Smart Promotion, 10-1 on the morning line, won Northlands' Count Lathum Handicap July 27. Nate Smith picks up the mount after Fernando Perez was injured in a spill.

Monmouth Park shipper Reporting Star was a distant second to Verrazano , a leading contender for this year's Travers (gr. I), in the Pegasus Stakes (gr. III) June 16. Following a runner-up finish in the Jersey Derby on the Monmouth turf July 20, the son of Circular Quay was purchased privately by Chad Joe's Copper Water Thoroughbred Co. Previously in the Kathleen O'Connell barn, the gelding makes his first start for trainer Craig MacPherson. He drew post 3 with Richard Hamel in the irons at 7-2 on the early line.

Ohio Derby (gr. III) winner Title Contender, also running for new connections, lands in the far outside post as a 5-1 chance. Previously owned by Gary and Mary West and trained by Wayne Catalano, the Pulpit gelding out of the Canadian multiple graded winner Winter Garden (by Roy) was purchased by Peter Redekop since his July 27 Ohio Derby tally. He will be saddled by Anita Bolton.

Also fancied on the morning line is 6-1 hope Shooting Jacket, winner of two of three starts at Hastings Racecourse this season after racing at 2 in Great Britain. The Hard Spun  gelding, who drew the rail, comes off a win in the Chris Loseth Handicap July 1 for Swift Thoroughbreds and trainer Dino Condilenios.

Dale Greenwood will send out the only Alberta-bred in the race, For Cash, who has hit the board in all three of the 3-year old stakes this season at Northlands including a second-place finish in the Count Lathum. For Cash is a half brother to last year’s Canadian Derby winner, Toccetive.

Deadly Truth and Success Rate, third and fourth, respectively, in the Count Latham, also merit attention.

$200,000 Canadian Derby (Can-III, Race 12, 5:45 p.m.), 3YOs, 1 3/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Shooting Jacket (KY), S Williams, D K Condilenios, 6/1
2. Risky Call (KY), R Zenteno Jr., J Petrowski, 20/1
3. Reporting Star (FL), R H Hamel, C MacPherson, 7/2
4. Two to Load (LA), N A Ortiz, W T Pugh, 30/1
5. Skimmer Jim (ON), R E Simard, T Bensmiller, 20/1
6 Deadly Truth (LA), A Pooli, G Tracy, 15/1
7. Just Win Baby (FL), S Beauregard, T Rycroft, 15/1
8. Success Rate (FL), A T Gryder, D L Terry, 12/1
9. Smart Promotion (KY), N Smith, R Diodoro, 10/1
10. For Cash (AB), I E Mosqueira, D Greenwood, 12/1
11. Broadway Empire (KY), R W Walcott, R Diodoro, 2/1
12. Title Contender (KY), E A Gonzalez, 122, A Bolton, 5/1
All carry 122 pounds.