08/18/2011 12:18PM

Northlands Park: Inhisglory seems well-suited for marathon Canadian Derby

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EDMONTON, Alberta – A seemingly well-matched field of 12 3-year-olds will line up in the Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park on Saturday. But the grueling 1 3/8-mile distance going around four turns should separate the contenders from the pretenders. The 10 colts and geldings in the field will carry 126 pound, five pounds more than the two fillies, Embellished and Lemon Loaf.

The Canadian Derby is the premier race of the Northlands Park meet and part of a $75,000-guaranteed pick four that begins on race 10. The 14-race card also includes three other stakes – the $75,000 Speed to Spare, the $75,000 City of Edmonton Distaff Handicap, and the $50,000 Sonoma Handicap. The races begin at 11 a.m. Mountain, with the derby field set to load at 3:45 p.m.

Inhisglory has the second-best Tomlinson Figure for distance in the field and acts like a horse who will handle the extra yardage. Trained by Craig MacPherson, Inhisglory is versatile and was involved right from the start in his last two wins, the Chris Loseth at Hastings and the Count Lathum at Northlands. Both races were 1 1/16 miles around three turns.

MacPherson likes the way Inhisglory, who will be ridden by Richard Hamel, is coming into the race.

“You have to like the horse,” said MacPherson. “He tries hard every time and Richard should be able to place him where he wants.”

MacPherson also trains Tommy D’Horsey, who is coming into the Canadian Derby off a maiden win at Northlands with Hamel aboard July 30. Fernando Perez picks up the mount.

Hammers Bullet is on a roll with two straight stakes wins at Assiniboia Downs, including the $75,000 Manitoba Derby on Aug. 1. Not bad for a horse who struggled to win an $8,000 maiden claiming race at Tampa Bay Downs in February.

“He just couldn’t handle the deep sandy track at Tampa,” said his trainer, Clay Brinson, who is based at Canterbury Park. “To win races like this you need a horse that is peaking at the right time and Hammers Bullet is peaking right now.”

Northern Indy figures to move forward in his second start on dirt. According to trainer O.J. Jauregui, Northern Indy had an excuse for his third-place finish in the $50,000 Seattle Slew at Emerald Downs on July 17.

“When he broke out of the gate he lost the left-front shoe,” he said. “He is a son of A.P. Indy so I think the distance should help.”

Line Change, trained by Terry Jordan, is coming off a dull performance in a $20,000 starter race over Polytrack at Woodbine. He won the $75,000 Floor Show at Delaware in his previous start. Jordan said to toss Line Change’s race at Woodbine because he hated the synthetic surface.

Embellished, the winner of the July 31 Northland Oaks, could be the one they have to run down. She is trained by Rick Hedge, who also entered The Acid Test, who will be trying dirt for the first time but should handle the distance. In his last start he finished third going a mile and a quarter in a first-level allowance race on turf at Woodbine.

Trainer Lianne Knechtel will have a hard time controlling her emotions if Freedoms Traveller wins. Knechtel took over his training when her spouse, Barry Brown, died in May. Freedoms Traveller won the Ky Alta the day of Brown’s memorial service and then lost by a nose to Inhisglory in the Count Lathum.

“I don’t think I would make the winner’s circle if he won,” said Knechtel.