05/23/2002 11:00PM

Hoofprint distance favors Intact

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CALGARY, Alberta - The road to the June 15 Alberta Derby has taken several twists this spring, with no clear-cut favorite emerging from the 3-year-old ranks.

So it comes as no surprise that Sunday's Hoofprint on My Heart Handicap, the major prep for the Alberta Derby, drew a full field of 10 with one also-eligible.

The past two runnings of the one-mile Hoofprint produced Alberta Derby winners Scotman and Fancy As, both short-priced favorites. This edition includes a host of contenders who have taken turns beating each other through the first 30 days of the Stampede Park meeting.

Intact, trained by Stuart Simon, has shown a good closing move in both his local outings. Intact, who won a stakes at Hastings Park last July, was beaten a neck by Dark Fuse in the May 11 President's at six furlongs, and was going best of all in the closing yards.

Richard Hamel retains the mount aboard Intact, who drew post 8 and should appreciate the extra two furlongs here.

Dark Fuse, winner of a pair of sprints here for trainer Ron Burrell, held gamely in the President's after stalking the pacesetting favorite Dance Me Free. Dark Fuse has not won past six furlongs.

Orlando Martinez replaces the suspended Rickey Walcott in the irons on Dark Fuse. He drew post 4 and is expected to be part of the early pace.

Dance Me Free, champion juvenile in Alberta last year, set quick fractions in his last race. He drew the outside post, and trainer Sid Gray and rider Stephan Heiler may decide to take him off the pace Sunday.

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