07/10/2005 11:00PM

'Deputy' ends slump in handicap


EDMONTON, Alberta - Deputy Country, Alberta's reigning horse of the year, bought himself a huge reprieve when he sprang the upset of the young Northlands season with a stunning runaway victory in the $50,000 Spangled Jimmy Handicap here Saturday.

Deputy Country, owned by Arnie Heppner and trained by Red Smith, had worked decently enough but had lost decisively in three stakes appearances this season.

"He had some tough races at Calgary this spring and it took its toll," Smith said. "[Saturday], he got away from the speed."

Deputy Country, at 9-1, quickly disposed of 2004 Alberta Derby winner Fly Esteem, who went with him around the first turn but eventually backed up through the field of nine.

Deputy Country became bolder with every stride and opened up in the stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths while finishing the mile in 1.37.20.

Leanne Painter was aboard Deputy Country, whom she rode to win the Spangled Jimmy last year.

Beau Brass, Sixthirtyjoe, and Rindanica finished necks apart in second, third, and fourth.

Rindanica was the 9-5 favorite, with Sixthirtyjoe next at 5-2 and Beau Brass the third choice at 7-2.

Deputy Country now will be pointed for the $50,000 Klondike Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward here July 30.

* Nominations close Wednesday for the $50,000 John Patrick Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares here July 23.