08/26/2004 12:00AM

Kat Kool heads the home team


EDMONTON, Alberta - A field of 11 will contest Saturday's 75th running of the Canadian Derby, the largest field for the race since the 1980's. A 1 3/8-mile race, the Canadian Derby has Grade 3 status and a record purse of $250,000, and is the highlight of a 10-race program that also includes the $75,000 City of Edmonton Distaff.

There will be no fewer than seven out-of-town invaders for the Canadian Derby. Heading that group are Organ Grinder, who has made the trip from Toronto, and Overact, a filly who is among five hopefuls from Vancouver.

Leading the home forces is , a Kentucky-bred trained by Red Smith, who was in Toronto on Thursday for his induction into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Kat Kool won the 1 1/16-mile Hoofprint on My Heart at Stampede Park in late May and the 1 5/16-mile Count Lathum here in his last start.

Organ Grinder is coming off a 1 1/16-mile allowance victory at Woodbine. On June 13, Organ Grinder won the 1 1/8-mile Victoria Park after finishing second in the Grade 3 Marine at 1 1/16 miles.

Trained by Sid Attard, Organ Grinder will have some sentimental followers here because his rider will be Jim McAleney, who was Alberta's champion apprentice rider in the late 1980's and then followed the money to the Ontario circuit.

Overact will carry 121 pounds compared to 126 for her male rivals. She came to Northlands two weeks ago and won the $100,000 Sonoma for 3-year-old fillies so convincingly that her trainer, David Forster, decided to return her for the Canadian Derby.

Royalty Boy will vie with Kat Kool for hometown favoritism after his upset victory in the Manitoba Derby. Real Simard retains the mount.

The other local contestants are Controlled Meeting, who has not raced since winning the 1 1/16-mile Ky Alta five weeks ago, and Bonspiel, who has been enjoying success in optional claimers.

Plenty of Heat was claimed for $50,000 at Del Mar by John Elick of Calgary from his latest start. Stuart Simon is now the trainer. Picking up the mount is Iggy Puglisi, who returns to Edmonton after a long absence.

Lord Samarai, highly regarded from Vancouver, is trained by Robert VanOverschot and will be ridden by Dave Wilson.

Completing the field are Hastings shippers Proud Son, Joyride, and Cariboo Prospector.