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Oh! Canada!

July 31, 2009     E-mail this page to a friend!

Monday’s provincial holiday means great horseracing across Western Canada—no matter what’s being celebrated. British Columbia Day marks the first running of the Pacific Challenge, an international card that features B.C- and Washington-bred competitors. (See related article.) On Heritage Day in Alberta, Northlands Park features important races for both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. Folks in Manitoba enjoy a Civic Holiday and big action at Assiniboia Downs.

So what are you waiting for?

Northlands Park features the $50,000 Sun Sprint Championship Handicap for 3-and-up Thoroughbreds going 6 ˝ furlongs. The final three races on the day are Quarter Horse trials for the Alberta Stallions Stakes Futurity.

Ivan Biggs of Assiniboia Downs offers “The Insider’s” view of the action. “Just the richest day in Manitoba racing, Derby Day, takes place on holiday Monday with an exceptional field of ten horses.

“The Manitoba Lotteries Derby should be a thriller. There are TEN entrants, more than anyone initially had expected and more than in recent years. The Derby pool should be huge as well, with 64 partners simulcasting the Derby for other players throughout North America. That includes such tracks as Calder, Oaklawn, Hawthorne, Turf Paradise, Woodbine, Northlands, Hastings, Sam Houston, Delta Downs and the California fair circuit. Here are the top six contenders:

“Hilton's Cherokee: Owned by Phil "Mr. Vegomatic" Kives of the K-5 Stables, this colt--who won the 1 1/16th-mile Harry Jeffrey impressively--has Breeders' Cup blood. His father, Cherokee Run, was champion sprinter in the 1994 Breeders' Cup and also sired Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner War Pass. Kives, the king of TV-marketed gagetry, has won the Derby twice. Jockey: Alan Cuthbertson …

“Theglow: Has looked extremely impressive in his two ASD wins, one of which included the Golden Boy. Has improved in each race and shows a lot of heart. Despite what you may have heard or read, this colt's eligibility to enter the Derby had never been in question. The Manitoba Horse Racing Commission is just looking into the exact nature of the horse's ownership. Jockey: Rohan Singh

“Smuggler's Hold: Has been doing a lot of route racing at Oaklawn Park and, more recently, Canterbury Park where he won a 1-1/16 mile allowance race on a muddy surface. Route experience could come in handy in the 1-1/8 mile Derby. Jockey: Adolfo Morales

“Tease the Tiger: A third-place finisher in last year's Winnipeg Futurity, this gelding finished a good-closing third in the one-mile $50,000 Ky Alta Handicap at Northlands Park. Jockey: Jake Barton

“Wooden Ya Know it: Waltzed away from the field by eight lengths in his recent start at ASD. His sire is European champion Woodman who fathered Hansel, the 1991 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner. His mother was sired by Dynaformer who also sired 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. Jockey: David Lopez

“Muffin's Star: The lone filly, fast improving under the do-no-wrong tutelage of Rob Atras, the 24-year-old trainer who's been on a tear since getting his license in April. Jockey: Vicky Baze.”