06/14/2007 12:00AM

Alberta Derby lures competitive field of 10


CALGARY, Alberta - Saturday's 77th running of the $125,000 Alberta Derby here at Stampede Park promises to be one of the best in many years with a competitive field of 10 3-year-olds.

The lineup for the 1 1/16-mile Alberta Derby has drawn three challengers from Hastings in Vancouver, headed by Ookashada. The derby also includes Northern California invader Amazin Blue; and top local prospects Chief's Magic and Bling, the one-two finishers in the Hoofprint on My Heart here May 26.

Ookashada, champion of his division in British Columbia last year, makes his first venture outside the province and comes off a win in the 6 1/2-furlong Jim Coleman on May 21. A son of Millennium Allstar, Ookashada was rated just off the early pace in the Coleman by rider Pedro Alvarado and ran down Thesaratogaexpress in the stretch.

The tactic added a new dimension to the running style of Ookashada, a gelding, who drew well in post 4 for the derby.

Thesaratogaexpress drew post 3 here and will ensure honest fractions. His interests have enlisted local jockey Rickey Walcott to ride the gelding, who has raced on the lead in all five of his career starts.

Amazin Blue will fly in for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Amazin Blue enters off a series of route races, including a strong late run for fifth in a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes at Golden Gate on May 19.

Leading rider Quincy Welch will be aboard Amazin Blue, a son of Marquetry who runs best from midpack. He will start from post 2.

Chief's Magic, winner of the two local stakes preps, is marooned in post 10. The outside draw leaves rider Stephan Heiler little choice but to send early to avoid being hung wide.

Chief's Magic was all out to hold off Bling in the one-mile Hoofprint on My Heart and will need every ounce of Heiler's strong finishing ability to prevail on Saturday.

Bling drew post 9, which is certainly no bargain, but he remains an intriguing possibility.

A refugee from the claiming ranks, Bling has speed but Shannon Beauregard rated him just off Chief's Magic last out. He responded with the best race of his life to miss by just a neck while going strongest at the wire.

Ronaldino, the third invader from Vancouver, was unraced at 2 but comes off two impressive sprint tallies for trainer Terry Jordan, who won this race last year with Halo Steven.