07/19/2012 1:30PM

Northlands offers four stakes and an appearance by Gutierrez on Saturday


Beginning with the six-furlong Edmonton Juvenile in the first race, Northlands Park will feature four $50,000 stakes races Saturday. The Princess Margaret for 2-year-old fillies follows in the third race. Seven older fillies and mares will contest the one-mile John Patrick Handicap in the seventh, and closing out the stakes bonanza is the one-mile Spangled Jimmy where Commander figures to be favored in the 10-horse field.

Post time for the stakes-rich card is 1 p.m. Mountain.

The Spangled Jimmy drew a solid field, but Commander figures to be favored for a couple of reasons. He was coming off a four-month layoff when he beat the top older horses at Northlands in the $50,000 Journal June 23. It was just the third win in his career and the first time Commander had won sprinting. A big, good-looking 4-year-old, Commander should relish the added distance. Adding to his appeal is the presence of Kentucky Derby- and Preakness-winning jockey Mario Gutierrez, who takes over the mount from Jorge Espitia.

Dennis Terry takes over from Randy Lane as the trainer of Commander. Troy Taylor is in charge of the horse at Hastings.

Contention runs deep in the John Patrick, and there are a couple of Canadian Derby winners in the field.

Freedoms Traveller, a 5 1/2-length winner of the 2011 Canadian Derby, appears to be rounding into form. Trained by Lianne Knechtel, Freedoms Traveller rallied to finish third in a one-mile $40,000 optional race won by Minutesandtouches July 7. It was a big improvement over a dull effort in his first start of the year.

Footprint won the 2007 Canadian Derby, and the 8-year-old is coming off a strong 2011 season where he won two stakes races, including a 6 3/4-length romp over Salt Flat Speed in the Spangled Jimmy. Trained by Joan Petrowski, Footprint could be ready for a big effort after tuning up with a couple of sprints.

Minutesandtouches and Salt Flat Speed should also be considered serious players.

Trainer Greg Tracy appears to have a stranglehold on the 2-year-old races. He has two of the five colts and geldings entered in the Juvenile and half of the six fillies in the Princess Margaret.

Rico Walcott is the barn’s main rider and it isn’t surprising to see him riding Bosco in the Juvenile. A son of the Grade 1-winning sprinter Street Boss, Bosco scored an easy seven-length win when he debuted in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race July 4. He drew the rail in the Juvenile and could be long gone if he breaks alertly.

Tracy also has Oil Country, who is coming off a second to Just Gone in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race July 4.

Just Gone looks like the main threat. Trained by Rod Cone, Just Gone rallied to beat Oil Country in his debut.

Walcott had to make a tough call in the Princess Margaret, and he opted to ride Holy Reina over Tell Me Lies. Each won her debut by a large margin, but Holy Reina, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Macho Uno, beat open company. Tell Me Lies won a race restricted to Alberta-breds.

Rubyintheruff will try and carry her speed around three turns for the first time in the John Patrick. Trained by Amber Meyaard, Rubyintheruff is coming off a sharp win in the six-furlong Wild Rose June 24. If she can’t get the distance, her stablemate Alywyn could pick up the pieces.

Notoriously, trained by Greg Tracy, will try and rebound from her dull effort as the odds-on favorite in the Wild Rose.