Century Mile announcer and morning-line odds-maker Dylan Beardy has made Red Knobs the favourite for Saturday’s $200,000 Canadian Derby after post positions were drawn Tuesday afternoon.
“I have Red Knobs at 3-1,” said Beardy of one of two Derby horses trained by Robertino Diodoro, who has already won the Derby three times. “He won the Manitoba Derby and he did it impressively. He also ran against some tough company as a two-year-old.
“Three-to-one seems to be an honest opening line. That’s the same odds that he won the Manitoba Derby.”
Beardy’s second choice at 9-2 is Soaringforthesun - one of three seemingly potent Vancouver horses that have come in for the Derby which will be contested at the classic distance of a mile and a quarter.
“Soaringforthesun won the Sir Winston Churchill in his last start at Hastings and he was pulling away at the end of that mile and a sixteenth race,” Beardy said of the colt’s three-length victory over Gunfighter and Regal Riot. Gunfighter and Regal Riot are also both in Edmonton for the Derby.
Gunfighter is listed as the third betting choice at 5-1. Regal Riot is 8-1. A full field of 12 horses will contest the Derby.
Red Knobs drew post position No. 2 with stablemate Great Escape right beside him in post No. 3.
“I’m happy with the posts we got for both horses,” said Diodoro. “We don’t have to worry about crossing over or losing ground.
“To quote the great veteran trainer Red McKenzie ‘the shortest way around is on the wood.’”
Diodoro worked both Red Knobs and Great Escape on Friday. “They got over the track really well. They went half a mile head to head and seemed to like the surface. Both horses also galloped out well.”
Soaringforthesun drew post eight. “I’m happy with the post but I don’t think it matters what post he got,” said Soaringforthesun’s trainer Edgar Mendoza. “He doesn’t have to be on top. He has a lot of speed but he can rate too. Post eight gives us a lot of options.”
Soaringforthesun has won three of his six career starts and has never been worse than third. “This horse is just learning. He’s an easy horse to train. He’s a cool customer. He’s not a headache horse. His win in the Sir Winston Churchill was very impressive,” said Mendoza.
“Amadeo (jockey Perez) said (Soaringforthesun) had lots left at the finish line. He said he could have run another lap. When he won last time out he had trained really well up to the race and he’s training that way again now. He’s a happy horse.”
Mendoza said he is leaving Vancouver at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning with Soaringforthesun and U Did It, last year’s champion two-year-old filly in B.C., who is running in the Oaks - one of three other $100,000 races on the Derby card. “It’s cooler then.”
Mendoza said his biggest threat in the Derby is Red Knobs. “He was very impressive in the Manitoba Derby. He’s the one to beat. But don’t count out the other two Vancouver horses: Gunfighter and Regal Riot. They are going to be tough. And, it looks like all three horses will like the distance. These three B.C. horses have been beating each other all year. Regal Riot has beat us twice. It won’t be easy. This is a tough group. We know it’s not going to be a walk in the park. But I know one thing. My horse is going to try. I just hope we get a good trip. And hopefully he can handle everything. Sometimes a horse goes to a different track and get confused.”
From the rail out the posts and odds for the Canadian Derby are:
- Clancy’s Pistol 15-1
- Red Knobs 3-1
- Great Escape 6-1
- Gunfighter 5-1
- Asyoubelieve 12-1
- Above And Beyond 15-1
- Sea Splendor 25-1
- Soaringforthesun 9-2
- Flashfordani 20-1
- Prayforpeace 15-1
- Itsmyday 10-1
- Regal Riot 8-1
Also eligible: Countrified 30-1.
“It’s nice to see a full field,” said Diodoro. The other three $100,000 stakes on the card are the Northlands Distaff; Century Mile and Century Casino Oaks.
From the rail out the posts for those races are:
- Dance Shoes
- Infinite Patience
- Mine Me
- Plum Blue
- Sheltered Bay
- Soy Tapatio
- At Attention
- Northern Dreamin
- Stone Carver
- Greek Geek
- Parking Permit
- Chase The Sun
CENTURY CASINO OAKS
- Chica Hermosa
- Burrow Down
- Tone It Up
- U Did It
- Keke Kimono
STOCK REPORT - While the Derby is, of course, the biggest race of the day and the season, the biggest star on the card is probably Infinite Patience, who is co-owned by Edmonton Oiler forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and who will run in the Northlands Distaff.
Infinite Patience has won seven races in a row going back to last year. In her last start she won by seven and three-quarter lengths. She has run three times before at Century Mile and won all three including last year’s Northlands Distaff. In total, Infinite Patience has won 12 of her 17 lifetime starts.
If you’re looking for a live long shot in the Derby don’t dismiss PrayforPeace. She won the Manitoba Derby Trial by six and a half lengths and simply wasn’t herself in the Manitoba Derby itself.
Another long shot - if you can throw out his last race and that it wasn’t the distance that beat him - is Asyoubelieve, who is handled by Alberta’s leading trainer Tim Rycroft. Asyoubelieve may not have to be in front to win, has a record of six wins in nine career starts and was Alberta’s champion two-year-old last year.
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