08/20/2011 7:43PM

Northlands Park: Freedoms Traveller capitalizes on hot pace to take Canadian Derby


EDMONTON, Alberta – Freedoms Traveller came from well off the pace to score an emotionally-charged win in the Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park on Saturday. Freedoms Traveller is trained by Lianne Knechtel. She became Freedoms Traveller’s trainer when her spouse, Barry Brown , died after battling  cancer in May.

“I just wish Barry was here, but he’s there,” Knechtel said, looking upward. “I said to him earlier today if you can make anything happen, make it today.”

Freedoms Traveller ($12.90) received a heady ride by Rafael Zenteno. While Tommy D’Horsey, Call Me Later , and the 3-1 favorite Line Change were fighting through very fast early fractions of 23.60 and 47.60 seconds in the 1 3/8-mile feature,  Freedoms Traveller had one horse beat in the 11- horse field. Zenteno moved Freedoms Traveller into striking range with a half-mile to go and at the three-eighths pole it was pretty clear he was going to catch the leaders. Freedoms Traveller was in full flight when he took command of the race on the stretch turn and by the time he hit the top of the stretch he was six lengths clear of Line Change.  Northern Indy made a late move to finish second but he never seriously threatened the winner, who crossed the wire 5 ¼ lengths in front. Northern Indy was 6 ½ lengths clear of Line Change, who held on to finish third. Inhisglory, the second choice in the wagering at 4-1, ran an even race to finish fourth.

The final time for the race was 2:21.80.

“Rafael rode him perfectly,” said Knechtel. “I was getting pretty excited when he started moving to them on the backstretch the final time. It looked like he was running easily while the other ones appeared to be struggling. The big question was who could go the mile and three-eighths? Well, he sure proved he could today. Barry would be thrilled.”

A homebred, Freedoms Traveller earned $180,000 for Randy and Donna Feddema.

The Canadian Derby was the second leg in a $2 pick four that paid $37,600.

Total handle for the 14-race card was $1,064,438.