At the beginning of each thoroughbred racing season, every three year old is a future Canadian Derby contender in the eyes of their owner, but it’s a long road ahead to the biggest, brightest race of the year.
For any that have shown a glimmer of that something special, a trainer will promptly chart a course along the arduous Canadian Derby trail for their young hopeful.
Historically, the Ky Alta has been heralded as the first local stepping stone to the most coveted prize. Ky Alta was an iron horse who raced 52 times from 1979-1983. His accomplishments were staggering with thirteen starts as a juvenile, sixteen as a three year old and fifteen more the following year to eventually amass a formidable $313,000.
The Ky Alta is route race contested over the classic mile. The importance of a midsummer test at this distance, creates a building block for endurance for the eventual derby distance of 1 3/8 miles. A top three finish here separates the men from the boys.
The final local derby prep race one month later is the Count Lathum contested over 1 1/16 miles. This race tributes a champion that amassed 23 victories in an impressive 116 lifetime appearances. It was a gritty victory that crowned him the 1960 Canadian Derby Champion, to etch his name in the history books. Finishing in the money in this contest establishes true contenders for the crown.
Finishing ahead of the rest, in both derby preps, would stamp you as the hot early favorite for the Run for the Daisies, and this year, Blue Dancer has earned that title. The Greg Tracy trainee has swept the trials in fearless fashion, winning each test more impressively than the last. Owned by Shot in the Dark Racing & Derby Quest Farms, there can be no mistake of the ownership’s intent, the quest is the Derby, and Blue Dancer has a great shot of making history!
Nominations for the 86th Canadian Derby are due August 5th. Early speculation suggests that Blue Dancer and his stable mate Centrefire are likely to be named, as well as former local rivals Purple Heaven, a multiple stakes placed runner up, and stakes placed Aztec Key, just to name a few.
The $200K Canadian Derby presented by CIBC will be televised on CTV at 5pm on Saturday, August 15th. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the most anticipated day of the year! Join us live at Northlands Park Racetrack and Casino, buy your tickets at northlandspark.ca