Local favorite No Hesitation, on a four-race winning streak for trainer Jim Meyaard, takes on nine rivals, including a pair of California invaders, in the $300,000 Canadian Derby (Can-III) at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta Aug. 21.
A California-bred colt by Siberian Summer, Barb Side's No Hesitation has rattled off all his recent victories over Northlands' 5 1/2-furlong dirt oval, including the past three wins in stakes company. He has won five of six races with one third over the track in his career.
Like all of his 3-year-old rivals, No Hesitation be stretching out to 1 3/8 miles for the first time in his career. He won the 1 1/16-mile Count Lathum Handicap by two lengths over a track labeled good in his most recent start July 31. Regular rider Rico Walcott has the mount on the gray/roan No Hesitation, who will break from post 4.
Meyaard, who is tied for second in the trainer standings at Northland with 31 victories through Aug. 17, also saddles Sycamore Stable's Professor Pollard, a son of Pollard's Vision that ran second to his stablemate No Hesitation in the Count Lathum. Anthony Salgado, running away with the Northlands jockey title this season, is aboard Professor Pollard.
The Canadian Derby is the 10th race on the Northlands card with a probable post time of 3:46 p.m. MDT.
Recent California starters are Distorted Dave, coming in from John Sadler's major stable, and Ranger Heartley, formerly with Sadler but claimed out of his last start, a win at Del Mar Aug. 1, for $62,500 by trainer Rodney Cone.
Winner of two of his first four starts, including a 4 1/4-length tally in an optional claiming race at Santa Anita in March, Distorted Dave was briefly considered for the Triple Crown trail until he finished seventh in Keeneland's Lexington Stakes (gr. II) three weeks later and was given some time off instead.
Owned by Highfield Stock Farm and Stephen E. Johnson, the son of Distorted Humor was again unplaced in the Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park June 19. He took another breather before returning with a fifth-place finish in the same race that Ranger Heartley was claimed in.
Pedro Alvarado, who rode Tommy Danzigger to victory at 8-1 odds in last year's Canadian Derby, takes the mount on Distorted Dave.
The speedster Ranger Heartley won the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields in January but was unable to extend his front-running style after setting the pace in three subsequent stakes tries--the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III), Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) and Affirmed. He landed in a one-mile optional claimer where he was taken by Cone on behalf of Curtis Landry. This will be the Lost Soldier gelding's first start for his new connections.
Al and Bill Ulwelling's Stachys, a two-length winner of the Manitoba Derby Aug. 2 at Assiniboia Downs, ships in from Minnesota as a serious threat for trainer Michael Biehler. The Kentucky-bred Candy Ride gelding won the Dean Kuntz Stakes at Canterbury Park prior to his Manitoba triumph and has a three-race win streak.
Another major contender is Kara's Orientation, second in his stakes debut in the Toronto Cup over Woodbine's turf course in his last start July 24. Steve Chircop trains the Orientate colt for Max Berketa and Pinnacle Racing.
Leading Northlands trainer Robertino Diodoro is represented by Gold Medallion, a Kentucky-bred son of Medaglia d'Oro who disappointed with a distant fourth-place finish in the Count Lathum when heavily backed. Gold Medallion, owned by Bob Butz and PSC Holdings, ran second in Woodbine's Victoria Park Stakes prior to that and was also fourth in the Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Belmont Park turf this spring.
Also coming out of the Count Lathum was third-place finisher Gold Winner, a son of Medallist trained by Joan Petrowski for Doug Blair.
Rounding out the field are British Columbia-bred Dyna Stroll, a back-to-back stakes winner recently at Hastings Park, and locally based Judge Brew, a Milwaukee Brew gelding trying stakes company for the first time after a pair of Northlands wins.
$300,000 Canadian Derby (Can-III, Race 10, 3:46 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 3/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Gold Winner (KY), S Beauregard, J Petrowski
2. Stachys (KY), D C Bell, M E Biehler
3. Gold Medallion (KY), S Heiler, R Diodoro
4. No Hesitation (CA), R W Walcott, J Meyaard
5. Dyna Stroll (BC), M Gutierrez, A May
6. Professor Pollard (AB), A Salgado, J Meyaard
7. Kara's Orientation (KY), E Ramsammy, S Chircop
8. Ranger Heartley (KY), T Maragh, R J Cone
9. Judge Brew (FL), R Lara, T Rycroft
10. Distorted Dave (KY), P V Alvarado, J W Sadler
All carry 126 pounds.