06/14/2012 1:15PM

Northlands: Dougs Buddy risks unbeaten local mark in Western Canada


Dougs Buddy will try to keep his unblemished record at Northlands Park intact when he runs in the $50,000 Western Canada Handicap Saturday. It will be his first start since he suffered his only defeat, which came in the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs last Nov. 19. If he runs back to the form he displayed in four starts at Northlands, he’ll be tough to handle in the six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds, which drew five horses.

Trained by Joan Petrowski, Dougs Buddy dominated the local 2-year-old division last year. After romping to a seven-length win in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race in his debut July 20, he reeled off three straight wins in stakes races. He ran off and hid from Congrats Man by six lengths in the Edmonton Juvenile and then held off Silver Baubles in the Birdcatcher and the one-mile Canadian Juvenile.

He was in pretty tough in the $1 million Delta Jackpot and he had a rough trip, getting bumped at the start and then going very wide around the first turn before fading to finish last in the 10-horse field.

Petrowski likes the way Dougs Buddy is coming up to his first race this year but thinks he could be vulnerable facing horses that may have a fitness edge.

“He is doing really well and he should run a good race,” she said. “I don’t know if he is going to need a race or not, but I am a little concerned because he’s facing horses that have been running.”

Rico Walcott rode Dougs Buddy in all of his races at Northlands but has opted to ride Congrats Man. Replacing Walcott is leading rider Stephan Heiler.

Hastings invader Unquiet has been a very sharp horse this year, finishing first in two of his three starts, all in Vancouver. Trained by Phil Hall, Unquiet was very impressive when he romped by 6 1/4 lengths in a quick 1:16.87 in a 6 1/2-furlong $50,000 optional claiming race June 2. He was disqualified for causing interference leaving the starting gate, however. Unquiet was coming off a solid effort in the $50,000 Jim Coleman Province. He set the pace in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint before giving way to Clear the Runway late.

Congrats Man appeared to have something left when he won a first-level allowance race at Northlands May 23. The Greg Tracy trainee was coming off a win over Deputy Commander in a $30,000 optional maiden claiming race at Hastings May 6.

Gabe’s Pride and first-time starter Timeforabreak round out the field.