09/13/2012 3:20PM

Northlands Park: Bond James Bond is peaking for the Alberta Breeders' Handicap


Bond James Bond and Shanghai Charlie look like the main players in the $50,000 Alberta Breeders’ Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at Northlands Park on Saturday. The 1 1/16-mile race headlines the annual Fall Classic Card that features seven stakes races restricted to horses bred in Alberta. Post time for the first race is noon Mountain. The Breeders’ drew 10 horse and is the last of 11 races.

According to trainer Greg Tracy, Bond James Bond is peaking at the right time. He broke a step slow and then rallied to finish second in the $49,000 Three and Four Year Old Sales Stakes on Aug. 11. He also just missed to Forgetthestorm in a $40,000 optional maiden claiming race in his previous race July 7. Both races were at 6 1/2 furlongs, and Tracy thinks the move to a middle distance will benefit Bond James Bond.

“He really acts like he wants more distance, plus the sprint came up a lot tougher than this did,” Tracy said. “His last race was one of the best races he’s run in a long time.”

Bond James Bond won both times he went around three turns in one-mile stakes races as a 2-year-old, but he hasn’t won since he captured a $75,000 optional claiming sprint at Hastings in his first start as a sophomore last year.

Rico Walcott retains the mount.

Shanghai Charlie has won his last four races and is coming off an easy 3 1/2-length win over Juan Might in a one-mile $20,000 claiming race Aug. 24. All four of his wins have come at a mile, and he started his streak for trainer Ron Grieves in a $7,500 claiming race for nonwinners of three on June 22. He was claimed out of his second win by trainer Judy Cross for $7,500, and he easily handled Indian Love when Cross ran him back for $10,000 on Aug. 8.

Jockey Jorge Espitia replaces Walcott, who was aboard for his last three races.

◗ The stakes festival begins with the Alberta Premier’s Futurity at 6 1/2 furlongs in the second race, where Hollywood Drama will be looking for his third straight stakes win. Trained by Dale Saunders, Hollywood Drama does his best running late and should have an honest pace to chase with Saintly Aura and Country Button in the field.

◗ The Tracy-trained Tell Me Lies will be the shortest price on the day in the Sturgeon River for 2-year-old fillies. She is coming off a 10-length win over Canaveral Leader in the $49,000 Filly Sales Stakes on Aug. 18.

◗ Trainer Joan Petrowski has two good shots at winning the Alberta Oaks with Pumpkin Hollow and Ruckus Time. The one-mile race appears to be wide open, however, and any of the eight horses entered could win.

◗ Trainer Ron Grieves is hopeful Silver Baubles can extend his winning streak to three in the 1 1/16-mile Beaufort for 3-year-olds. Silver Baubles came from a stalking position to edge Cafeine Cowboy in a one-mile $40,000 optional claiming race Sept. 1. Silver Baubles won the Alberta Premiers Futurity last year on Fall Classic Day.

◗ Hollywood Dreams won the Red Diamond Express as a 3-year-old last year and is coming into the 6 1/2-furlong sprint off a sharp win in the $49,000 Three and Four Year Old Sales Stakes at the same distance. Trained by Dean Martiniuk, Hollywood Dreams should be tough to catch if he breaks alertly with Scott Williams aboard.

◗ Two Horn Unicorn will try to defend her title in the 1 1/16-mile Fall Classic Distaff, but will need to rebound off a disappointing seventh-place effort in the $75,000 City of Edmonton Distaff on Aug. 25.