09/07/2005 11:00PM

Derby has look of a 2-horse race


SASKATOON, Saskatchewan - Wind Dancer goes in search of his fifth win of the year, and fourth in a stakes, in Sunday's $15,000 Saskatchewan Derby here at Marquis Downs.

Wind Dancer and two other locals, Fargo Forbes and Lambrose, will take on a single ship-in from each neighboring province - Second Time Clever from Alberta and Hawk de Gold from Manitoba.

The Saskatchewan Derby is run at 1 1/16 miles and goes as the seventh of eight races on the meet's final card.

Wind Dancer has been beaten just once in his five outings this year and has won from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles, utilizing a stalking style. Wind Dancer has won the Saskatoon Handicap, the Sale Stakes for 3-year olds, and most recently the Short-grass Heritage at Saturday's distance after stalking Fargo Forbes.

Wind Dancer was unable to catch Fargo Forbes in the one-mile City of Bridges when Fargo Forbes was loose on the lead. With no other apparent speed Saturday, it may come down to the same scenario in the derby.

Fargo Forbes, the province's top juvenile colt or gelding in 2004, has run second to Wind Dancer twice and third once in addition to beating him in the City of Bridges. In Wind Dancer's victory in 1 1/16-mile Shortgrass, Fargo Forbes was loose on the lead through softer fractions than during his score in the the City of Bridges, so the distance may be a factor.

Second Time Clever arrives from Alberta with a record of 3 wins from 4 starts on the year. All of Second Time Clever's victories were at Stampede Park, where he won his maiden for a $7,000 claiming price before moving up to score for $12,000 and $17,500.

A layoff of almost three months followed, and Second Time Clever reappeared at Northlands to face a tough group of optional claimers going six furlongs. Second Time Clever finished sixth in that race but was beaten by just three lengths. Second Time Clever has won from on the lead but has also shown the ability to win from well off the pace.

The $6,000 Finale Handicap, for older horses going a mile, drew just four entrants as the undercard feature. The Finale features a rematch between Dick's Hunter and Bullinsky, the top two finishers in the Old Dutch Handicap.