08/20/2016 10:38PM

Killin Me Smalls holds on by neck in Westerner Handicap


Favorites won the three stakes supporting the Grade 3, $150,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park on Saturday.

The most exciting of the three was the $50,000 Westerner Handicap won by Killin Me Smalls, who paid $4.30 for his narrow win over Royal Warrior. He went into the gate as the second choice in the wagering behind Blue Dancer but late money made him the pubic choice in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up.

Killin Me Smalls and Blue Dancer dueled through sprint-like fractions with Blue Dancer holding a head advantage after a half-mile in 45.86 seconds. Killin Me Smalls started to take the edge at the six-furlong mark before Blue Dancer began to tire under high weight of 125 pounds on the stretch turn.  Killin Me Smalls opened up a clear lead midstretch and was able to hold off Royal Warrior to win by a neck. Royal Warrior, last early, finished full of run but came up just short. Go Max rallied to finish third.

The final time was 1:43.87.

Killin Me Smalls, the Horse of the Year in Alberta in 2015, is trained by Ernie Keller.

Onestaratatime and Hero’s Amor wrapped up divisional titles with convincing wins in the $64,504 Sonoma for 3-year-old fillies and $74,800 City of Edmonton Distaff for fillies and mares.

With leading rider Rico Walcott in the irons, they ran almost identical races. Walcott put Onestaratatime on the lead in the Sonoma, and after facing early pressure from My Kathleen, she drew off to win the 1 1/16-mile race by 4 1/2 lengths over Smart Fix. Audacious Angel finished third.

Trained by Greg Tracy, Onestaratatime paid $3.20 and posted a final time of 1:44.35.

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Hero’s Amor paid $3.80 for her easy win over Truvi in the Distaff.

Hero’s Amor broke sharply with Walcott aboard and was pressured early by Blameitontheknight before she drew off to win the 1 1/16-mile race by 2 1/2 lengths. Truvi moved into contention at the quarter pole but was overmatched. Majestic Presence made a late move while going wide to finish third.

The final time was 1:44.12.

Hero’s Amor is trained by Tim Rycroft.