05/30/2007 12:00AM

Early look at Alberta Derby contenders


CALGARY, Alberta - Prospect Begonia, a $62,500 claim at Gulfstream on March 11, makes his Alberta debut in Friday's optional claiming feature here at Stampede Park.

The one-mile test serves as a prep for the $125,000 Alberta Derby on June 16, the penultimate day of this meeting. The result of last weekend's Hoofprint on My Heart, in which Chief's Magic barely held safe a charging Bling in the final strides and the other three runners produced disappointing efforts, has renewed interest in several camps in running in the Alberta Derby.

Prospect Begonia, a California-bred son of Suave Prospect, is looking to rebound from a poor effort at Churchill Downs in his first start for his new connections and will be looking to enter the Alberta Derby picture. He breaks from post 7 with Quincy Welch up.

I Suspect and Wood B Nice head up the local contingent, and both runners come off a good effort in a one-mile race here on May 16.

I Suspect won that event under a well-judged ride from Jake Barton, who retains the call from post 3. Wood B Nice was a closing third after taking the overland route and drew post 2 with Desmond Bryan back aboard.

The connections of Wood B Nice, owner Robert Vargo and trainer Monica Russell, won the 2005 Alberta Derby with longshot Knight's Covenant.

Wood B Nice, by Devonwood out of the stakes-winning mare Some Right Nice, will race on Lasix for the first time.