09/08/2011 12:21PM

Marquis Downs: Striking Time must fend off Northlands invaders in Saskatchewan Serby

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Striking Time, coming off a handy win in the Shortgrass Heritage for Saskatchewan-breds, will be looking to hold for the fort for the home side in Saturday’s $15,000 Saskatchewan Derby at Marquis Downs.

The Saskatchewan Derby, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds, is the closing-day feature of the meeting, which was scheduled for 30 days but had two weather-related cancellations.

Nine races have been carded and the Saskatchewan Derby goes as race 7 with a field of five.

Striking Time dominated the 2-year-old ranks at Marquis last year, going undefeated in four starts, including three stakes with an aggregate win margin of more than 30 lengths.

Beginning his 3-year-old season at Northlands Park, Striking Time made no impact in two starts. Returned to trainer Fern Zdunick at Marquis in early July, Striking Time finished second in two of his first three starts at the meeting before breaking through in the one-mile Shortgrass Heritage.

Neville Stephenson retains the mount on Striking Time, who will begin from the inside under scale weight of 126 pounds.

The other four entrants have been racing at Northlands at varying levels.

Joker Lake has been keeping the best company but showed little in the Western Canada and Ky Alta and more recently an optional $40,000 claimer. Perry Winters is coming over from Alberta for the mount on Joker Lake, who is trained by Tim Rycroft.

Appealing Lake has won two of his last three starts, all at the $12,000 claiming level, with the first success coming over one mile and the latest at 1 1/16 miles. Naim Samaroo has picked up the mount on Appealing Trip, who is trained by Ron Grieves and drew the outside post.

Treasured Kitten won his maiden last time over six furlongs for trainer Craig Smith and will be ridden by Heribert Martinez for the first time.

Dash to My Tune was eighth behind Appealing Trip in his latest after wining the Alberta Derby over a mile and 70 yards of turf at Alberta Downs. Rojidan Ramirez has the mount.