08/12/2010 1:21PM

Distance the hurdle for Cactus Cat

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It is tough to separate the 2-year-olds who are running in the two divisions of the $50,000 Sales Stakes at Northlands Park Saturday.

Cactus Cat has been installed as the 7-5 favorite in the colts and geldings division, which drew seven horses and goes as race 7. Spirited Winner, 6-5, will have her hands full with Flatter Us in the fillies division, which attracted eight horses and goes as race 6. Both races are 6 1/2 furlongs.

Despite being pegged at 7-5, Cactus Cat has a lot to prove. The first obstacle is that he is shipping to a new track after running twice at Assiniboia Downs. Trained by Chad Torevell, Cactus Cat won his debut in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight July 10 and then came back to finish fourth in the $30,000 Graduation Aug. 2. Cactus Cat was involved right from the start in both races, and considering that he tired going 5 1/2 furlongs in the Graduation, he could be vulnerable dealing with an extra furlong.

Cactus Cat will also have a new rider, with Tony Maragh taking over from Mark Anderson.

Bond James Bond and Jack to a King look like the main threats to Cactus Cat, and being a Robertino Diodoro-trained entry they are likely to receive substantial public support. Both horses are owned by Riversedge Racing Stables Ltd.

Bond James Bond was no surprise when he debuted for trainer Greg Tracy in a $27,500 maiden race July 14. Sent off as the 3-2 favorite, Bond James Bond scooted to an early lead with Quincy Welch aboard and never looked back. Rico Walcott picks up the mount from an injured Welch.

Jack to a King will also be making his first start for Diodoro. He romped to a 9 1/2-length win in a $12,000 maiden race for Alberta-breds July 25 when trained by Tracy.

Canadian Derby gets 16 noms

The Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby, closed with 16 nominations on Wednesday. Heading the list is undefeated Golden Moka, who is coming off a win in the $500,000 Prince of Wales at Fort Erie July 25.

His trainer, Brian Lynch, said a final decision will be made later in the week on whether Golden Moka will run in the Canadian Derby or the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga, Aug. 28.

Leading the local contingent is No Hesitation, who has won his last four races by a combined 19 lengths.