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A full field of twelve to run in the 84th Canadian Derby on Saturday

August 14, 2013     E-mail this page to a friend!

The entry box was filled to the brim on Wednesday morning as twelve runners entered for the 84th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park. Many members of the local media as well as from the Northlands Park racing community gathered around as each horse was assigned his post-position at the draw.

Heading up the local cast is Broadway Empire, who drew towards the outside in post position #11. The winner of the $50,000 Ky Alta on July 6 has been training up to the race since that win and will be ridden by jockey Rico Walcott in the Canadian Derby.

Reporting Star, who ships in from Monmouth Park off of a second-place finish in the Jersey Derby drew post-position #3 for trainer Craig MacPherson. Richard Hamel makes the journey up from Vancouver to ride Reporting Star in the Canadian Derby. Two starts back, Reporting Star finished second in the Grade 3 Pegasus at Monmouth behind multiple Grade 1 winner Verrazano.

Undefeated Smart Promotion picks up the services of jockey Nate Smith after Fernando Perez was injured in a spill last week. Smart Promotion is a perfect 3 for 3 in his career including a win in the Count Lathum Handicap. Smith is the fourth different rider that Smart Promotion has had on his back for a race.

Dale Greenwood sends out the only Alberta-bred in the race, who drew post #10. For Cash has hit the board in all three of the 3-year-old stakes this season at Northlands Park including a second-place finish last out in the Count Lathum. For Cash is a half brother to last year’s Canadian Derby winner Toccetive.

The 84th running of the Grade 3 $200,000 Canadian Derby is this Saturday, August 17th. It is the 12th race on the card, with an approximate posttime of 5:45 p.m. First post at Northlands Park on Saturday is at noon.

Success Rate looks to give his owner first Canadian Derby win

Success Rate will look to give owner Glen Todd of North American Thoroughbred Horse Company his first win in the Canadian Derby. Todd, whose operation is based at Vancouver’s Hastings Race Course has been close to winning the Canadian Derby before, as he’s finished second on three separate occasions, most recently with Texas Wildcatter in 2008.

Success Rate was purchased privately by Todd after his thirteen length victory in an allowance race at Calder Race Course in Miami on June 28.

“We’re always looking for talented horses,” said Todd. “We vetted out ten different horses and he was the soundest one we could get our hands on. We bought him with the Canadian Derby in mind.”

Success Rate’s journey from Calder to Northlands Park wasn’t exactly a short or smooth one. He was purchased in Florida and then trucked up to Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. He then flew to Memphis, Tennessee, then flew to Seattle, Washington and then finally trucked up to Vancouver, British Columbia where he stayed for three days and put in a five furlong work. Finally, he got back on the truck and headed here to Edmonton where he arrived just in time to finish fourth in the Count Lathum Handicap.

“He was pretty tired when he ran in that race,” said Todd. “Aaron (jockey Aaron Gryder) thought at the three eighths pole that he was going to win and win for fun, but he just ran out of steam. I think all that travel caught up with him. He’s definitely a different race horse now than he was in the Count Lathum.”

Todd has a bloodstock agent who sends him horses each day to take a look at and then Todd makes the decisions on which ones to pursue and make offers on. Once he picks out a horse he likes, he’ll have the horse vetted out to check for soundness and all around health.

Jockey Aaron Gryder, who rose to worldwide fame in 2009 when he guided Well Armed to a win in the world’s richest race, the $6,000,000 Dubai World Cup, will once again have the mount on Success Rate. Gryder has been based in California for years, but came up to Vancouver for the season to ride first call for Todd. Todd had previously always had Mario Gutierrez ride first call for his runners, but Gutierrez’ rise to fame and success after winning the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness with I’ll Have Another has led him to stay down in Southern California.

Todd will not only send out Success Rate on Canadian Derby Day, but he has three other runners that will race in the stakes events, including Commander. Commander will look to defend his title in the $50,000 Westerner Handicap. He is 6 for 7 in his career at Northlands Park and has won two straight stakes events this season.

“Commander just loves the track up there at Northlands Park,” said Todd. “He’s such a good horse and always seems to run his race up there.”

You’ll be able to recognize Todd’s horses on Saturday as all will have his red and white checkered silks. Todd knows that he has a good horse in Success Rate, but he also knows just how tough this race is to win.

“I think this is one of the nicest Canadian Derby fields I’ve seen,” said Todd. “We have a good horse, but we’ll see if he’s good enough to win on Saturday.”

For Cash looks to follow in big brother Toccetive’s footsteps in the Canadian Derby

Just two weeks before Toccetive won last year’s $200,000 Grade 3 Canadian Derby, owners Lyle and Phylis Farkash (Southview Ag. Ltd.) sent out a first time starter named For Cash. The then two year old broke a bit slow and never really got going, finishing fourth beaten nine and a half lengths that day. Just 13 days later, his older half-brother Toccetive would make history as he roared from off the pace to win the 83rd running of the Canadian Derby.

Trainer Dale Greenwood was down at Turf Paradise this past January when For Cash, and Toccetive, arrived at his barns off the van.

“He was pretty fresh when I started out with him,” said Greenwood. “He didn’t seem very mature. He’s come a long ways and he’s filled out quite a bit.”

Greenwood brought his horses back up to Northlands Park for the racing season, and For Cash paid immediate dividends as he broke his maiden at six furlongs, doing it well and finishing strong. He followed that up with a big allowance win that saw him win by eight and a half lengths. Greenwood thought the 3 year old warranted a shot in the Western Canada Handicap.

“When we started breezing him he really started to light up the board,” said Greenwood. “His gallops weren’t particularly eye-catching, but his works have just gotten better and better.”
For Cash finished third in the Western Canada behind Najraan Breeze and third once again in the Ky Alta behind Broadway Empire. His last start may have been his best though in the Count Lathum Handicap, as he battled early, but kept on fighting to finish second beaten just two lengths by the undefeated Smart Promotion. The Count Lathum was at a mile and a sixteenth, so he’ll be asked to go 5/16ths of a mile further in the Canadian Derby.

“I really think the further he goes the better he’ll be,” said Greenwood. “He’s always finished strong in all his races. If you watch that last race he finished second, was only beaten a couple of lengths and the outrider had to pull him up. He wasn’t done running yet. And we know his mom can throw a winner at a mile and three eighths.”

For Cash’s mom is Punching, who is also the mother of Toccetive, who won last year’s Canadian Derby as well as the Speed To Spare Handicap, a race Toccetive is pointing towards this year as well. Toccetive will run on Canadian Derby Day in the $50,000 Westerner Handicap.

For Greenwood, an Alberta native, winning the Canadian Derby would be extra special indeed.

“Well I’ve been close a couple of times,” said Greenwood.

Greenwood sent out Sweet Monarch, a filly, to a second place finish in the Canadian Derby back in 2002. She was beaten that day by Lady Shari, another filly.

“If you have a three year old with any talent you certainly keep the Canadian Derby in the back of your mind,” said Greenwood. “It’s a peculiar distance for a three year old, going a mile and three eighths that is, but I just think with this horse, the farther he goes, the tougher he’ll be.”

Broadway Empire gives Diodoro shot at Canadian Derby win

Trainer Robertino Diodoro hasn’t known Broadway Empire for that long. The three-year-old came into his life back in February when Diodoro and his owners bought a group of three horses from owner Bob Bone and big time breeders Mercedes Stable. Broadway Empire walked off the trailer and Diodoro laid his eyes on the big three-year-old son of Empire Maker.

“They all came walking off the trailer and they all looked okay,” said Diodoro. “But then Broadway came off and he looked like a big saddle horse. He looked really heavy and he’d never even been to a racetrack yet.”

Diodoro decided to train Broadway Empire at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, the base of his operation that includes strings of horses that go to Canterbury Park in Minnesota, Southern California, and of course here at Northlands Park. Broadway Empire made his career racing debut in a bit of an odd spot for a horse as well-bred as he is—an Optional Claiming maiden event with an $11,000 purse at Turf Paradise. He went right to the front and never looked back, opening up to win by sixteen and a half lengths.

“I took a little bit of heat and got criticized for starting him there in that spot because the purse wasn’t that big,” said Diodoro.

Off the big maiden win, Diodoro shipped Broadway Empire west to Hollywood Park where his wife took over his day-to-day training duties. Broadway Empire ran in the Came Home Stakes, a $70,000 event at seven furlongs and came running late to grab second, beaten by a nice sprinter named Let Em Shine. Next up, he tried the big boys, going in for the $100,000 Grade III Affirmed Handicap at a mile and a sixteenth at Hollywood Park. He was pulling jockey Victor Espinoza early and never settled down into an easy beat as he chased a fast pacesetter. He finished in sixth, and left Diodoro and his owners to figure out what to do with their runner.

“We had several discussions with the owners about what to do,” said Diodoro. “We had mixed emotions about running him at Northlands because 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.”

Broadway Empire found his way to Northlands Park for the $50,000 Ky Alta Handicap and made his presence in Alberta known quickly as he stalked the pacesetters and blew them away with an eye-catching move on the final turn, drawing off to win by seven and a quarter lengths. After that big win, Diodoro was asked if he was “Derby Dreaming” with this big three-year-old. Diodoro gave a definitive answer.

“Always,” he said.

Diodoro has put a couple of longer works into Broadway Empire as the mile and three eighths distance of the Canadian Derby will be five sixteenths of a mile farther than he’s ever been asked to go. He put up a blistering six furlong work on July 18th with a time of 1:10.2.

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

For Diodoro, an Alberta-bred himself, to win the Canadian Derby is certainly a big goal of his.

“It would be a huge win for us,” said Diodoro. “I’ve flown in horses for this race that I bought a week before the race. It’s always been high on my list. But to have a horse who has been with us for a while and been with many members of our whole system, well that would make it that much sweeter.