08/12/2011 11:29AM

Northlands Park: Canadian Derby looks like a scramble

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Jason Stewart/Patrick Lang Photography
Inhisglory, on the inside, holds off Banjammer to capture the Turfway Prevue. He figures as one of the favorites in the Canadian Derby.

Jason Teague, racing secretary at Northlands Park, is expecting a field of nine or possibly 10 horses to run in next Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby. The 1 3/8-mile feature closed on Wednesday with 13 horses nominated.

“It looks like the most evenly matched field we have had here in years,” said Teague.

There are no standouts among the likely starters and it is hard to predict which horse will end up being the favorite.

Inhisglory will undoubtedly be among the favorites. Trained by Craig MacPherson, Inhisglory is the most accomplished horse in the field with four stakes wins. He won the Turfway Park Prevue at Turfway Park in January before being sold to Vancouver resident Peter Redekop. Inhisglory established himself as the top horse in Western Canada with wins in the River Rock and Chris Loseth at Hastings. He shipped to Northlands to win the $50,000 Count Lathum July 30 and remained there. Monica Russell, who has been overseeing Inhisglory’s training at Northlands, was pleased with his six-furlong move Friday morning.

“He did it easily and he wasn’t blowing when he came back,” she said.

MacPherson also said he was going to work Tommy D’Horsey this weekend before making a final decision on running him in the derby. Tommy D’Horsey was an impressive maiden winner at Northlands July 30.

Inhisglory was all out to beat the top local hope Freedoms Traveller by a nose in the Count Lathum. Trained by Lianne Knechtel, Freedoms Traveller had won the $50,000 Ky Alta at Northlands in his previous start.

Trainer Terry Jordan likes his chances with Line Change, who is coming off a sixth-place effort as the favorite over Polytrack at Woodbine July 24. He won the $57,000 Floor Show on dirt at Delaware in his previous start.

“He absolutely hates the Polytrack,” said Jordan. “He won’t even train on it. I do know he will run all day long, and that is half the battle.”

Rick Hedge has nominated and will probably run both The Acid Test and the 3-year-old filly Embellished.

The Acid Test has just a single win, but he is coming off a third going 1 1/4 miles on turf at Woodbine and should handle the distance. Embellished has dominated the 3-year-old filly division at Northlands.

The Clay Brinson-trained Hammers Bullet left Assiniboia Downs Thursday morning. He won the last two stakes for 3-year-olds there, including the $75,000 Manitoba Derby Aug. 1. The Kentucky-bred son of Bernardini has improved dramatically since winning a nonwinners-of-two $10,000 claiming race at Canterbury Downs May 27.

Northern Indy showed he could handle dirt when he finished third in the $50,000 Seattle Slew at Emerald Downs July 17. All his previous starts were either on turf or synthetic surfaces in California. Prior to his third in the Seattle Slew he finished last in the Grade 3 Affirmed at Hollywood Park June 11. His trainer, O. J. Jauregui, said he was going to work him at Emerald on Saturday and ship to Northlands either Monday or Tuesday.