09/19/2013 4:22PM

Northlands Park: Alberta-breds take center stage with seven stakes Saturday

Ryan Haynes
Kingoftherockies had a six-race winning streak snapped in the Sun Sprint Championship on Sept. 7 at Northlands Park.

Alberta-breds take the spotlight at Northlands Park on Saturday, when seven stakes worth $50,000 apiece make up the bulk of the 11-race Alberta Fall Classic Day card. All seven stakes are restricted to horses bred in the province.

Adding a lot of class to the stakes festival is the presence of Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze, who has six mounts on the card. Baze’s best chance might be with Arctic Ceal in the Red Diamond Express for 3-year olds and up. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint is the most intriguing race on the card and features a matchup between Kingoftherockies and Bond James Bond.

Kingoftherockies won six straight races, including the $49,000 3-and- 4-year-old Sales Stakes, before going unplaced over a track rated good in the $50,000 Sun Sprint Championship on Sept. 7. Kingoftherockies was claimed for $12,000 out of his final start of 2012 by trainer Robert MacDonald, who said he thinks the horse will rebound with a big effort Saturday. In all of his wins, Kingoftherockies led right from the start.

“He was outside in his last race, and when he couldn’t get past the other speed, he kind of gave up,” MacDonald said. “I don’t think the wet track helped him, either. He’s trained really well and drew inside the other speed, so hopefully he’ll be tough to get past.”

Ismael Mosqueira retains the mount.

Trainer Greg Tracy said he likes the way Bond James Bond is coming into the race. In his most recent start, Bond James Bond lost by a nose to Kingoftherockies in an optional $35,000 claiming race Aug. 17. Bond James Bond has won twice and hasn’t been worse than second in six starts at the meet.

“I skipped the Sun with him in order to have a fresh horse for the Red Diamond, and he seems pretty happy right now,” Tracy said.

Bond James Bond has good speed, and if a duel develops, it could set things up for Arctic Ceal, who rallied to finish second behind Kingoftherockies in the 3-and-4-year-old Sales Stakes before running a dull race going 1 1/16 miles in a $12,500 claimer July 27.

Grieves could have big day

Trainer Ron Grieves should win the 1 1/16-mile Alberta Breeders’ Handicap for 3-year-olds and up with Silver Baubles. The 4-year-old Silver Baubles will appreciate the substantially easier company after knocking heads with Grade 3 winners Commander and Senor Rojo all summer. He did beat Commander going six furlongs in the $58,000 Journal Handicap and ran a huge race going 1 1/16 miles in the $52,000 Fred Jones, where he earned a career-best 94 Beyer Speed Figure for his second-place finish behind Commander.

“He’s run well, but he’s just been outclassed by Commander and Senor Rojo,” Grieves said. “It would be really nice if he could win the Breeders’ because he won stakes on Fall Classic Day as a 2-year-old and also last year. It would be kind of special if he could do it three years in a row.”

Silver Baubles, who will be ridden by Shannon Beauregard, won the Alberta Premier’s Futurity in 2011 and the Beaufort last year.

Grieves also has a chance with Canaveral Leader in what appears to be a wide-open Fall Classic Distaff for fillies and mares. A 3-year-old filly, Canaveral Leader won the Northlands Park Oaks but finished fourth behind Tell Me Lies in the $50,000 Sonoma Handicap in her most recent start.

“Tell Me Lies beat Canaveral Leader five out of the six times they met, so I wanted to avoid her and try the older fillies and mares,” Grieves said.

Brady’s Tomboy and Regal Tigereyes look like the main threats to Canaveral Leader in the 1 1/16-mile Distaff.

Tell Me Lies, trained by Tracy, will be heavily favored to win the Alberta Oaks on Saturday.

For Cash steps down in class

For Cash should be tough to handle in the Beaufort for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles. Trained by Dale Greenwood, For Cash finished second in the $52,000 Count Latham before picking up a fourth in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby.

Greenwood said For Cash has had plenty of time to recover after running 1 3/8 miles in the Canadian Derby.

“My horse is doing great, and I think the one he has to beat is Keene On Demand, who is on a bit of a roll,” Greenwood said.

Keene On Demand has won 3 of 4 starts, and in his most recent start, he looked good, winning a one-mile, second-level allowance in his first route attempt for trainer Rob Chabot.

◗ Legend Fortynine and Artie’s Brother look like the main players in the 6 1/2-furlong Alberta Premier’s Futurity.

◗ The Sturgeon River for 2-year-old fillies appears to be wide open. Baze could win the 6 1/2-furlong race if Absolute Ginger breaks alertly from the rail.