08/01/2012 3:05PM

Northlands: Madeira Park tries to run down Plethora in Northlands Oaks


Hastings invader Madeira Park looks like a serious threat to win her first stakes race when she runs in the $50,000 Northlands Oaks at Northlands Park on Friday night. The one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies drew eight horses and goes as the seventh race.

Madeira Park is eligible for a first-level allowance race but is coming off two solid efforts in stakes at Hastings in the Emerald Downs on June 10 and the Supernaturel on July 7. Both races were at 1 1/16 miles and were easily won by Evelyn’s Dancer.

Trained by Dave Forster, Madeira Park rallied to finish second in the Emerald Downs and after hopping at the start and trailing the field early, she made a strong move to finish third in the Supernaturel. She arrived in Edmonton at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

“It seems like she handled the ship well,” said Forster. “She is a very nice filly and I’m sure she will be running at the end.”

Richard Hamel, who has won with four of his five mounts since returning from arthroscopic knee surgery, rides Madeira Park. He was aboard for her only win in an optional $30,000 maiden claiming race April 15.

Plethora, who is coming off a sharp front-running win in the $50,000 R.K.”Red” Smith Handicap on July 14, will try to fend off Madeira Park in the stretch.

Plethora figures to move forward following her win in the Smith. It was her first time going around three turns for trainer Craig Smith and she set very fast interior fractions of 23.0 and 47.20 seconds before starting to slow down at the six-furlong mark in 1:12. She staggered home the final quarter mile in 28 seconds, but the only horse within striking range was Claresmiezie, who also tired after chasing Plethora the whole way.

Tony Maragh retains the mount. Maragh also rode Plethora to a 12 1/2-length win over Folly With Molly in a first-level allowance sprint June 9.

There aren’t any horses in the field with the kind of speed Claresmiezie has, but Tempered Steel showed decent sprint speed when she came from a stalking position to win a first-level allowance race for fillies and mares going 6 1/2 furlongs July 11. It was her first race this year. Trained by Rod Cone, Tempered Sapphire was a maiden when she won the one-mile, $50,000 Freedom of City in her final start of 2011.