08/26/2010 9:12AM

Mr. Instigator enters Birdcatcher off big win


Mr. Instigator figures to be a solid favorite in the $50,000 Birdcatcher for 2-year-old colts and geldings at Northlands Park Saturday. The 6 1/2-furlong race attracted eight horses and goes as race 9 on the 10-race card, which will be the last day of live racing until Sept. 6.

Juvenile fillies will also be featured in the $50,000 Bird of Pay, which drew six horses and goes as race 6.

Mr. Instigator started his career with a win in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race at Hastings for trainer Troy Taylor May 9. Following his easy win he was sent to Alan May’s barn at Northlands and in his first start for May he won the $50,000 Edmonton Juvenile by a half-length.

The margin is misleading. Racing greenly early, he blew the first turn, and after regrouping it looked like he was going to blow by the leaders at the top of the stretch. Just as he was about to take control of the race, Oren’s Star drifted out badly and took Mr. Instigator to the outside fence. It is hard to say how much ground he lost, but it is safe to say he would have been an easy winner if he was able to have a clear path.

“I was amazed he was still able to win,” said May. “He seems like a pretty nice 2-year-old.”

Fernando Perez was aboard for his win in the Edmonton Juvenile, but the owners, Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella, have flown in their main rider, Mario Gutierrez, to ride.

What’s Up Doc romped by an impressive 5 1/2 lengths when he debuted in a maiden special weight race for Alberta-breds Aug. 13. Coming out of leading trainer Robertino Diodoro’s barn, he could end up the second choice in the wagering.

Points Alert and Boomtown Brat should also attract some support off of their sharp win in their last race.

Spirited Winner looks like the one to beat in the Bird of Pay. Trained by Joan Petrowski, Spirited Winner is coming off of a big effort, losing by a nose after taking a 4 1/2-length lead into the stretch in the $49,000 Filly Sales Stakes Aug. 14.

Embellished looks like the main threat. She came from off the pace to win the $50,000 Princess Margaret July 17 and there should be ample speed to set up her good late move.