06/23/2005 12:00AM

Champ tries to recover winning way


EDMONTON, Alberta - Deputy Country, Alberta's reigning horse of the year, has drawn the rail and will be looking for his second straight Journal Handicap victory at Northlands Park Saturday.

The $50,000 Journal, a 6 1/2-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward, attracted a field of nine.

Deputy Country, a 7-year-old Ontario-bred, also was honored as the Alberta circuit's champion sprinter of 2004. Canadian Hall of Fame trainer Red Smith has named Mike Iammarino the rider on Deputy Country, who comes off sixth-place finishes in the Stampede Park Sprint Championship and Teeworth Plate in Calgary.

Deputy Country will run uncoupled with stablemate Kat Kool, who gained first call on Iammarino's services. Kat Kool finished second in an allowance in his most recent outing.

Chief Mtn opened his campaign in grand style by winning the Stampede Sprint and an allowance in Calgary before finishing off the board in the Teeworth. His jockey will be Chris McGregor, who has emerged from a one-year retirement.

Sixthirtyjoe won two successive Journals before Deputy Country ended his reign. Although he won an optional claimer this spring, Sixthirtyjoe was fourth in the Herald Gold Plate after running third in the Stampede Sprint.

Greg Tracy, the leading trainer at Stampede, will send out the entry of speedballs Taiaslew and Golden Hunt.