06/28/2004 11:00PM

Derby star Fly Esteem tries sprint


EDMONTON, Alberta - Alberta Derby winner Fly Esteem hopes to celebrate Canada Day by winning his second successive stakes in the $40,000 Western Canada Handicap for 3-year-olds at Northlands Park on Thursday.

Fly Esteem drops back from the 1 1/16-mile Alberta Derby distance to 6 1/2 furlongs here, and takes on seven rivals. He will break from post 7.

Carrying top weight of 120 pounds, including jockey Desmond Bryan, Fly Esteem will bid for his third victory of the year.

Prominent among his rivals is the Red Smith-trained Kat Kool, who will attempt to redeem himself after finishing eighth in the Alberta Derby as the 5-2 favorite.

Kool Cat won three times at Stampede Park, including the Hoofprint on My Heart at a mile. Kat Kool is scheduled to be ridden by Quincy Welch, who missed two cards with a knee injury suffered on opening night.

Smith will also saddle the uncoupled Polaris, who will be making his first appearance of the season in Alberta, after losing his 2004 debut in the Golden Boy at Assiniboia Downs.

Ol Fifty, who was fourth in the Alberta Derby, will be appearing in his fourth stakes of the season after winning an allowance first time out this year. He was fourth in the Hoofprint on My Heart and runner-up to Saw Grass Sabre in the President's Handicap.

Washington-bred Chief Mtn, comes in off a win and a neck defeat in two allowance sprints.

Ozzie's J J had two wins early in the Calgary meet, but failed to hit the board in two stakes. He should relish the sprint distance.