Friday, 07 August 2015 13:24

Road to the Canadian Derby - Nominations List

Written by Crystal Leriger

Nominations came from far and wide for the Wednesday Derby deadline totaling 15 impressive candidates

Academic is one of two ladies vying for a spot in the history books alongside former filly greats Raylene, Lady Shari, Native Brass and Chariot Chaser. The 3 year old daughter of Henny Hughes is 2 for 3 this year with her most recent victory a stunning upset in the $500K Woodbine Oaks. In just six lifetime appearances, she has amassed $358,506, easily making her the richest starter in the race.

Afleet in Time recently arrived from sunny California for the enviable dream team of Robertino Diodoro, Bob Butz, Rick Running Rabbit and Fouad El Kardy. Together with Northland’s champion jockey Rico Walcott, they boast back to back triumphs in Western Canada’s most prestigious race.

Alabaster is a colt that not only possesses an impeccable pedigree, but he also keeps the classy company of world renowned partnership Godolphin Racing and Eoin Harty. Northlands Park would be the fifth track in five starts for the Medaglia d’Oro colt should they decide to send him here after his last start in the Grade 2 $500K Indiana Derby.

Aztec Key is coming off of a surprise stakes debut in the 1 1/16 miles Count Lathum for local trainer Craig Smith. A top three effort behind a dominating Blue Dancer would instill the confidence of his connections to continue along the derby trail.

Blue Dancer’s record at Northlands Park is a perfect 5 for 5 including convincing victories in all three derby prep races this year. The only blemish on his record was last year in the $2,000,000 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile competing against the best two years olds world wide.

Former Preakness starter Bodhisattva is enroute to Edmonton after his most recent race at Monmouth park.  2015 will mark a third consecutive derby start for a Wally Pugh trainee in just a few short years in the thoroughbred business.

Capitalism was a top juvenile in 2014 and has exceeded earnings of $113K in just six starts. In a flawless career for Trainer Greg Tracy, he has never been worse than second and has 3 stakes victories on his resume. His nomination was a last minute consideration to join his two stablemates in the run for the daisies.

Centrefire is a third legitimate prospect for the Tracy barn. Winless in five attempts this season, he has been second best to his stablemate in stakes action and may emerge from the shadow of Blue Dancer with the untested derby distance of 1 3/8 miles.

Conquest Cobra is one of over 50 horses in training for the influential Conquest Stables. In only four short years in the business, they have enjoyed extreme success at an elite level with training phenom Mark Casse. They have multiple stakes winners, two Breeder’s Cup runner’s and could add a Canadian Derby title to their list of accomplishments.

Cowboys Don’t Cry has lead a taxing campaign this season with 9 starts already. His best finish is his most recent in the hands of jockey Scott Williams and Trainer Tom Rycroft to place in the Alberta Derby at Evergreen Park.

Purple Heaven has been a hard-knocking over achiever that has proven to be a tenacious performer with multiple stakes placed efforts. Knocking on the door in every stakes battle of his career this docile barn pet has proven that he is a fierce competitor come race time. Purple Heaven will be one of two derby representatives for the dynamic duo of Twylla Bensmiller and Ted Graling.

Quality Lane has been nearly flawless in stakes competition in her career. The epitome of honesty and heart, the Petrowski nominee could etch her trainer’s name on the derby trophy for a record third time since 2007.

Timeless Tales is the only maiden on the list, perhaps waiting to make his first win a memorable Canadian Derby victory. A top four finish in the first mile of his career bred hopes of a classic route horse with an aptitude for distance. Trainer Ryan McLean has been down the derby trail before with champion filly Embellished, and hopes to make his second dash for the big cash count.

Witt Six the post-time favorite for the $75K Manitoba Derby, had to settle for second by a neck in the recent bout. Several Canadian Derby starters in previous years have been graduates of the 1 1/8 mile contest, and have relished the derby distance. With three consecutive stakes wins prior to the derby, a start at Northlands on August 15th could prove too taxing a schedule for the Assiniboia Downs star.

Xtreme Denigray already has one Derby victory to his credit courtesy of a triumphant ride by jockey Tony Maragh in the iconic Alberta Derby. A horse with a modest pedigree and a massive heart gives Bensmiller and Graling a second shot at derby glory. Given the choice of which Bensmiller trainee to ride in the derby, Maragh surprised his connections choosing to stick with “Denni” leaving Purple Heaven to look for a new rider.

The official Derby Draw will take place Wednesday, August 12th at 11am at Northlands Park. The 86th running of the Canadian Derby presented by CIBC will be limited to a field of 12 starters vying for the winner’s share of the $200K.

Download an Equibase Nomination list from the Download attachments link below...

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