08/27/2007 12:00AM

Footprint captures Canadian Derby

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EDMONTON, Alberta - The cheering for local favorite Footprint began in earnest coming out of the final turn of Saturday's grueling 1 3/8-mile Canadian Derby at Northlands Park. Footprint, ridden by Real Simard, and California-invader Gandolf, with Jake Barton aboard, were locked in a head-and-head battle in the Grade 3, $300,000 race.

The Canadian Derby was not decided until the sixteenth pole, when Footprint ($4.80) repelled one last bid by Gandolf to post an immensely popular 1 1/4-length victory.

The victory, accomplished in 2:19.60, earned trainer Joan Petrowski her first Canadian Derby in a 32-year career, and she and Simard entered the winner's circle to heartfelt applause.

Simard made the key move early in the race. Simard had tucked Footprint into third place in the field of seven the first time down the backstretch behind Manitoba Derby winner Weather Warning and Gandolf when he spied an opening along the rail. He shot Footprint through and to the lead.

"I saw Weather Warning drift out a bit into the turn and decided it was time to go," Simard said. "Once we got the lead, my colt relaxed for me and then he really dug in when Jake came at me with Gandolf."

* Earlier in the day, Monashee ($2.80) won the $100,000 City of Edmonton Distaff to extend her stakes winning streak to nine under a heady ride from Dave Wilson, who made an early bid along the inside.

"My mare prefers to sit just off the pace, but the early fractions were slow and I let her run up in there," Wilson said.

Monashee took control on the backstretch and won under a hand ride - besting Manitoba invader Culpeper Moon by 1 1/2 lengths to complete the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.20.