08/05/2004 12:00AM

Locals face key prep for Derby

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EDMONTON, Alberta - The $40,000 Count Lathum, the final prep for the Grade 3 Canadian Derby on Aug. 28, attracted a field of just five locally based horses.

Nevertheless, hope remains high that this year's higher purse of $250,000 for the Canadian Derby, the 1 3/8-mile race that is the centerpiece of the Northlands stakes schedule, will attract shippers from California, Vancouver, Toronto, and Winnipeg.

None of the locals has raced beyond 1 1/16 miles, and the 1 5/16-mile Count Lathum on Saturday would appear to be a necessary steppingstone to the Derby distance.

Despite winning the 1 1/16-mile Ky Alta here July 24, Controlled Meeting is not in the Count Lathum lineup after being all out at the wire in a three-horse photo in that race.

Kat Kool, the beaten favorite in the June 19 Alberta Derby at Stampede Park, and Ol Fifty, purchased by a group headed by trainer Monica Russell before the Ky Alta, both finished strongly in the Ky Alta and should be factors in the Count Lathum.

Kat Kool was runner-up to Controlled Meeting, beaten a head, with Ol Fifty another neck back.

Kat Kool, who won the one-mile Hoofprint On My Heart at Stampede Park on May 30, will have Quincy Welch aboard.

Craig Faine will ride Ol Fifty.

Chief Mtn, whose victory in the 6 1/2-furlong Western Canada here on July 1 prompted Dany Dion to buy him, has yet to show that he can go a route. Real Simard retains the mount.

Griffin's Wake was fourth when trying a route for the first time in the Ky Alta, fading after setting the pace to the last turn.