09/20/2006 11:00PM

Breeders', Distaff top Classic card


EDMONTON, Alberta - Saturday's 10th edition of the Alberta Fall Classic, the provincial breeding industry's showcase day at Northlands Park, features 51 Alberta-breds in seven stakes races competing for $400,000 in purses. There are five $50,000 stakes to go along with the card's twin features, the Alberta Breeders' Handicap and the Fall Classic Distaff, each worth $75,000.

In the 1 1/16-mile Alberta Breeders', Beau Brass looks to extricate himself from the long shadow of handicap star True Metropolitan and win for the first time since taking an allowance race June 4 at Stampede Park. When asked to sprint, the 6-year-old Beau Brass has acquitted himself well but hasn't quite been able to catch the circuit's top speedsters. When asked to go long, which is his preference, Beau Brass, who is trained by Tom White, has had the misfortune of running into True Metropolitan, who is not running Saturday.

In the Fall Distaff, Wild Bender faces stiff competition while attempting to notch her second stakes victory of the season.

After a near two-month layoff, Wild Bender returned to the races in late August and finished fifth in the City of Edmonton Distaff. In her most recent appearance, Wild Bender went up against open company in a one-mile allowance race Sept. 13. While Wild Bender finished fourth in that contest, she showed just enough that one might suspect that conditioner Dale Saunders will have her primed for a peak performance when she meets key rivals Banjo Babe and Braetta in the 1 1/16-mile Distaff.

Banjo Babe, the most dangerous of the three mares to be saddled by Don Gilkyson in this race, is still seeking her first stakes victory of the campaign but has been a factor in almost all her starts this season. Braetta has scored four times this season with two of those wins coming in stakes races.