07/29/2010 11:18AM

Gold Medallion looks the goods at Northlands


No Hesitation will face a serious challenge from Gold Medallion in the $50,000 Count Latham for 3-year-olds at Northlands Park Saturday. The 1 1/16-mile feature drew seven horses and goes as race 7.

The Count Latham is the final prep for the Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby Aug. 21, and trainer Robertino Diodoro is hoping Gold Medallion is good enough to give him his first win in the most prestigious race in Alberta. He certainly has the credentials.

Gold Medallion was purchased privately by Bob Buntz and Bernie Ferbey and moved to Diodoro’s barn at Northlands after he finished second in the $150,000 Victoria Park at Woodbine June 27. He was coming off a fourth-place finish behind Krypton in the one-mile Grade 3 Hill Prince on the Belmont turf course June 4. Prior to the Hill Prince he beat Queen’s Plate winner Big Red Mike in a first-level allowance race at Woodbine May 2.

Woodbine and Belmont are two of the most expansive tracks in North America, and the move to running over a bullring is a significant hurdle to overcome. Diodoro likes the way Gold Medallion has adapted to his new, much-smaller surroundings, however. He was especially pleased with Gold Medallion’s five-furlong move at Northlands in 1:01 on July 25.

“He is a big horse and we were a little concerned about how well he would handle the turns,” said Diodoro. “But he worked great and he handled the turns beautifully. It’s always tough to beat Jim, but I’m hoping we have a little better horse.”

Diodoro was referring to trainer Jim Meyaard, the trainer of No Hesitation. A 3-year-old colt by Siberian Summer, No Hesitation has dominated the last two stakes for 3-year-olds at Northlands. He dueled through fast fractions before easily winning the six-furlong Western Handicap on June 19, and he freaked when he stretched out to a mile in the Ky Alta on July 10, cruising to an eight-length win after stalking the early pace.

Meyaard is also high on Professor Pollard, who was impressive winning a one-mile $32,000 optional race when he stretched out for the first time July 10.

Shipping in from Arlington Park is St Liams Halo, who is coming off a win in a one-mile maiden special weight race on turf June 25. He’ll be making his first start for trainer Alan May.