05/23/2004 11:00PM

Deputy Country pulls upset


CALGARY, Alberta - The sloppy racing surface that greeted the 10 runners in last Sunday's $40,000 Teeworth Plate had favored speed all day.

Leading trainer Red Smith saddled Deputy Country, who at 30-1 was the longest shot on the board in the one-mile handicap, and his only instruction to rider Richard Hamel was to "send hard out of the gate."

On a day when only one winner came from farther back than second after a quarter-mile, the strategy was sound. But it is one thing to devise a plan, and another to implement it.

Deputy Country, who had shown no early foot in his first two outings at this meet, broke alertly from post 4 and Hamel had him on the lead in the short run to the first turn.

Dance Me Free, winner of the Stampede Park Sprint Championship 15 days earlier, took up the chase and defending champion Eternal Secrecy was third along the inside in the early stages of the race. Despite the presence of other speed in the lineup, Deputy Country dictated the pace through fractions of 23.60 seconds, 47.80 and 1:13.00 with Hamel sitting chilly.

Dance Me Free gave way in the run down the backstretch and Eternal Secrecy, who came into the race without a prep, was unable to mount a charge. Deputy Country was five lengths in front a furlong from the wire, an advantage that shrunk to one length at the finish, with Rindanica, who came from last, gaining with every stride. Code Name Fred rallied for third.

Deputy Country was timed in 1:40.20 and returned $62.90.