09/06/2006 11:00PM

Excessively Sweet battles the boys

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SASKATOON, Saskatchewan - Saturday evening's final day of racing at Marquis Downs features not only the prestigious $15,000 Saskatchewan Derby but also a very competitive running of the Matron Handicap for older fillies and mares.

The main question in the Saskatchewan Derby is whether Excessively Sweet can run her local winning streak to four by beating the boys. The 1 1/16-mile distance of the derby could also be a challenge.

Excessively Sweet has won 7 of 10 races lifetime and 5 of 7 this year, including two at Northlands Park for a $12,000 price and three wire-to-wire wins at Marquis, in the Old Dutch Handicap, the 3-Year-Old Sales Stakes, and the Parkland Heritage.

In the Parkland, contested at 1 1/16 miles, Excessively Sweet was all out late to hold off Shadazzle by a shortening 1 1/2 lengths.

Shadazzle, the other filly in the field of six, has two wins to go along with two stakes placings behind Excessively Sweet this year. A winner of seven races and runner-up in eight, Shadazzle did finish ahead of Excessively Sweet in last year's Prairie Lily, and she could use her stalking style to turn the tides again in the Saskatchewan Derby.

Son of Attey won his maiden in the 1 1/16-mile Shortgrass Heritage, in which he closed from 14 lengths back in deep stretch. He ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:49.60, 0.87 of a second faster than Excessively Sweet's winning time in the Parkland Heritage.

Paxton Ridge is the Saskatchewan Derby's wild card. He ships in to compete at his fourth track in just his eighth lifetime start. Claimed for $12,000 last time out, when he won a 6 1/2-furlong race at Northlands Park, Paxton Ridge began his season at Assiniboia Downs, where he had a win, place, and show against optional claiming foes. With a versatile running style, Paxton Ridge may get a perfect stalking trip in the Saskatchewan Derby.

The 1 1/16-mile Matron features a full field of 10, headlined by Picture the Answer and Brite Steel.

Picture the Answer has won her last two races, and Brite Steel hasn't missed the board in her last nine starts, a span that includes three wins.

All About Elsie seeks her sixth win from seven local starts. Hello Dear looks for her fourth win of the meeting.