10/17/2005 12:00AM

Absence of 'Otis' opens up stakes


EDMONTON, Alberta - The Vancouver-based connections of Notis Otis probably won't be eager to ship to Alberta again soon.

Notis Otis was scratched out of last Saturday's $50,000 Western Canada Handicap here at Northlands Park, bringing back memories of last spring when he was felled by a virus in the President's Handicap at Stampede Park. That illness put Notis Otis out of action for three months and cost him shots at the three derbies in Alberta and British Columbia.

This time, Notis Otis was found to have a shipping fever infection, and his exit from the Western Canada removed rival front-end speed for Golden Hunt to deal with. From the outside post in a reduced field of nine, Golden Hunt wired his adversaries for a $34.60 mutuel and his second stakes win of the year.

Golden Hunt, a Florida-bred trained by Carson Frey for owner Al Rupertus, won by 1 3/4 lengths over 8-5 favorite Ding Dong Dandy. Real Simard rode Golden Hunt in the Western Canada, a 6 1/2-furlong race for 3-year-olds.

* One day earlier, Slewpast's invasion from Vancouver produced a 1 1/4-length victory for trainer Robert Anderson and Foundation Stables in the Chariot Chaser. Francisco Fuentes rode Slewpast to victory for a $5.40 payoff in the Chariot Chaser, a 6 1/2-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies.

* The weekend action completed the Northlands stakes schedule for the season. The meeting continues through Breeders' Cup Day, Oct. 29.