08/19/2010 3:48PM

No Hesitation heads locals in speedy Canadian Derby

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EDMONTON, Alberta – Speed, and which horse will be able to carry it going around four turns, seems to be the theme for Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park. The 1 3/8-mile feature attracted 10 horses and headlines a strong 13-race card that includes the $75,000 Speed to Spare for 3-year-olds and up and the $75,000 City of Edmonton Distaff for fillies and mares. Post time for the derby is 3:45 p.m. Mountain.

Horses shipping in from Ontario, Minnesota, California, and British Columbia will face a strong pair of local horses trained by Jim Meyaard, No Hesitation and Professor Pollard.

No Hesitation has dominated the local 3-year-old division and he is one of the many horses in the field with good speed. He battled through honest fractions to win his third stakes in a row in the $50,000 Count Lathum July 31, and Meyaard is confident No Hesitation will be able to sit off of what should be a quick pace.

“He’ll rate, and one of the best things going for him is his rider,” said Meyaard.

Meyaard was referring to Rico Walcott, who has been aboard for No Hesitation’s four straight wins.

Meyaard said Professor Pollard, a fast-closing second in the Count Lathum, is peaking at the right time and should love the distance.

Any horse who wants to be involved early will have to deal with Ranger Heartley. He has only one way of going, and in four of his last eight races he carried his speed the whole way for trainer John Sadler. In his last start, Ranger Heartley won a one-mile $62,500 optional race at Del Mar Aug. 1, and was claimed out of the race by owner Curtis Landry. Rod Cone is his new trainer.

Sadler will be represented by Distorted Dave, fifth in the same race he sold Ranger Heartley.

Kara’s Orientaton likes to be involved early but he is versatile. He is coming off of a strong second on turf in the 1 1/8-mile Toronto Cup at Woodbine where he held a two-length lead at the six-furlong mark.

“If you look back, he came from well off the pace when he won at Calder,” said his trainer Steven Chircop. “I don’t want him to be on the lead knocking heads going this far.”

Stachys, based at Canturbury Park with trainer Michael Biehler, came from last to win the Manitoba Derby Aug. 2 and should appreciate the likely pace scenario.