Eyes on Canadian

JOHN SHORT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:09 AM ET

Churchill Down. Woodbine. Delmar. Aqueduct. Belmont Park.

Arlington. Bay Meadows. Golden Gate. Hollywood Park.

Bettors and fans at some of North America's leading racing tracks will have at least a rooting interest in the $300,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park on Aug. 25.

When the entry deadline closed Wednesday morning with 12 colts on the list, only three showed large Edmonton or Alberta performance records.

The other nine all had success - large or limited - at tracks of the quality listed above.

Count Lathum winner Footprint, Dale Greenwood's respectable Bear Soldier and the improving Greenwood Meadow are the only entrants with solid Edmonton connections. In addition, Codio raced here once after getting established at an Iowa track and Amazin Blue, winner of the $125,000 Alberta Derby at Stampede Park in June, returns after a disappointing journey to the magnificent Delmar facility in Southern California.

The top three finishers in the Manitoba Derby - Weather Warning, Rage Till Dawn and Great Discovery - are making the trip from Winnipeg.

Ookashada, lifetime winner of nearly $300,000 in 10 starts, comes from Vancouver's Hastings Park after winning two consecutive $50,000 features. Kilmoganny and Gandolff, a pair of maidens with eight career starts apiece, come in from Toronto Woodbine and Vancouver's Hastings Park.

Sir Gallovic carries an impressive history. The Kentucky-bred bay won at Belmont Park, was purchased by Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella, then recorded a big victory in Vancouver.

Trainer Troy Taylor's friends understand his thinking: the Canadian Derby, B.C. Derby at Vancouver and a couple of big purses at Longacres in Seattle could make for a lucrative summer in his barn.

Footprint, the hottest of Alberta's three-year-olds, was sharp in the $75,000 Ky Alta and Count Lathum, and boasts the best record of all: once out of the money in 12 starts.

"He just keeps getting better," jockey Real Simard said after the Count Lathum triumph.

Trained by Joan Petrowski, Footprint likes to sit within reach of the leader and firing in the last furlong or two.

"Stalkers with that style are perfect for a (five-furlong) track like Northlands, a racing veteran explained. "Even with 12 starters, it shouldn't be crowded at the start."

If Footprint runs back to his recent form and can finish well while carrying 126 pounds for 1\ miles, it may not be crowded at the finish, either.


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