An evenly matched field of a dozen 3-year-olds, including a pair of fillies, is set to reach the starting gate in the $300,000 Canadian Derby presented by Canem Systems Aug. 20 at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta.
Inhisglory, on a three-race winning streak for second-leading Hastings Park trainer Craig MacPherson, figures to be among the favorites in the 1 3/8-mile test over Northlands' bullring dirt track. Peter Redekop's Kentucky-bred gelding by Pure Prize counts four stakes wins among his six victories from nine lifetime starts. They include a nose victory in an all-out try over Canadian Derby foe Freedoms Traveller in Northlands' Count Lathum July 30. Inhisglory has remained at Northlands since that race, working six furlongs in 1:13 3/5 Aug. 12.
Inhisglory won the Turfway Park Prevue Stakes by a nose in January. Richard Hamel, who has been aboard the bay for the current win streak, retains the mount. They break from post 3.
MacPherson, who is 3-for-3 at Northlands this season, also entered Tommy D' Horsey, a Kentucky-bred son of Mineshaft coming off a 4 1/2-length maiden-special-weight tally at Northlands July 30. Tommy D' Horsey had two prior starts at Hollywood Park without success when trained by Julio Canani.
Among the top local hopes is Freedoms Traveller, who was more than 10 lengths clear of the third-place horse after losing to Inhisglory in a nip-and-tuck Count Lathum battle. Conditioned by Lianne Knechtel for owner/breeders Randy and Donna Feddema, the Alberta-bred gray/roan gelding by Peacenfreedom won the one-mile Ky Alta Stakes on a sloppy track prior to that.
Trained last year by the late Barry Brown, Freedoms Traveller is also a sentimental choice in the Canadian Derby. Rafael Zenteno rides once again.
Embellished, one of two fillies in the race, should get solid support. She has captured three consecutive races in 2011 for trainer Rick Hedge, including the Northlands Park Oaks July 31 by 2 1/2 lengths.
Owned by Amber Buniak and Ryan McLean, the talented Kentucky-bred daughter of Bellamy Road has won five of seven lifetime starts, all at Northlands. Embellished will face males for the first time since finishing third in her maiden debut in June 2010. Regular rider Heribert Naherd Martinez has the call.
Hedge is also represented by The Acid Test, a son of Mobil coming off back-to-back third-place efforts against Canadian-foaled allowance company at Woodbine.
The other filly in the race, Lemon Loaf, is trained by Greg Tracy and will wear blinkers for the first time. Lemon Loaf broke her maiden in her ninth start July 1. Tracy, who is second to Robertino Diodoro in a tight trainer's race at Northlands, conditions the Kentucky-bred daughter of Lemon Drop Kid for owner Riversedge Racing Stable. Fernando Hernandez Perez, second among Northlands jockeys this season, has the return engagement.
Hammers Bullet, trained by Clay Brinson for Albertan Terry Hamilton, comes into the race off a victory in the Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia Downs by three-quarters of a length. The Kentucky-bred Bernardini gelding is looking for his third straight stakes victory.
Bob Cheema's Line Change, a stakes winner at Delaware Park in June, merits consideration for trainer Terry Jordan. The Toccet colt has won five of nine starts in 2011 but threw in a clunker last time out in a starter allowance over Woodbine's Polytrack.
Call Me Later, from the Diodoro barn, finished third locally in both the Ky Alta and Count Latham. The California-bred son of Old Topper broke his maiden against claimers at Santa Anita in February before being claimed by Diodoro for $32,000 April 3 and transferred to Alberta.
$300,000 Canadian Derby (Can-III, Race 11), 3-Year-Olds, 1 3/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Lemon Loaf (KY), F H Perez, 121, G Tracy
2. Treasured Kitten (KY), S Heiler, 126, C R Smith
3. Inhisglory (KY), R H Hamel, 126, C MacPherson
4. Line Change (KY), P V Alvarado, 126, T Jordan
5. Embellished (KY), H N Martinez, 121, R Hedge
6. Hammers Bullet (KY), M Anderson, 126, C Brinson
7. Call Me Later (CA), J Carreno, 126, R Diodoro
8. The Acid Test (FL), R W Walcott, 126, R Hedge
9. Northern Indy (KY), G Olguin, 126, O J Jauregui
10. Freedoms Traveller (AB), R Zenteno, 126, L Knechtel
11. Tommy D' Horsey (KY), M Gutierrez, 126, C MacPherson
12. Fleet Attack (KY), A Salgado, 126, J Petrowski
Blinkers On: Lemon Loaf