08/09/2004 12:00AM

Kat Cool earns shot at derby


EDMONTON, Alberta - Kat Kool, from trainer Red Smith's red-hot stable, was a beaten favorite two races ago in the Alberta Derby at Stampede Park.

But after his smashing victory in the 1 5/16-mile Count Lathum Stakes here on Saturday, Kat Kool is a top contender for the $250,000 Canadian Derby on Aug. 28.

Kat Kool, a Kentucky-bred ridden by Quincy Welch, won by 4 1/2 lengths with Tamingo second and Ol Fifty another five lengths back in third in the field of five.

Kat Kool, bet down to 2-1, overtook pace-setting Griffin's Wake turning into the stretch, and his domination through the lane bodes well for his prospects in the 1 3/8-mile Canadian Derby.

Kat Kool bled in the Alberta Derby, accounting for his faltering in the stretch to finish eighth. The Count Lathum was his second race on Lasix, as it was for Tamingo and Ol Fifty.

Chief Mtn, bought expressly for the Canadian Derby by owner Dany Dion, failed to fire and barely managed to salvage fourth money over the fading Griffin's Wake.

Controlled Meeting, who won the 1 1/16-mile Ky Alta weeks ago in a three-way photo with Kat Kool and Ol Fifty, passed up the Count Lathum as trainer Robertino Diodoro chose to avoid two consecutive route races, saving his horse for the Canadian Derby.

Nominations close Wednesday for the Canadian Derby, and race secretary Fred Hilts anticipates a number of invaders showing up, as well as Alberta-based Manitoba Derby winner Royalty Boy.