09/30/2007 11:00PM

Oaks chalk taken down after foul

EmailEDMONTON, Alberta - The 11th Alberta Fall Classic Day - with $400,000 up for grabs in seven stakes races restricted to Alberta-breds - started out Saturday with hot favorite Bears Artiste ($3.30) going wire to wire under Desmond Bryan to capture the Sturgeon River for 2-year-old fillies.

Next up was a memorable renewal of the Alberta Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, and the 1-2 favorite, Pat of Gold, crossed the wire 6 1/2 lengths in front of Bear Nobility ($17.90), only to be disqualified after veering out under Quincy Welch and severely impeding her rival midway down the backstretch.

Jockey Rickey Walcott regrouped aboard Bear Nobility after the hard bump to garner his first win and came right back to capture the Beaufort for 3-year-olds with Hurricane Tiki ($4) by a two-length margin.

She's Italian ($4), with Welch up, won the Distaff by 1 1/2 lengths over arch rival Banjo Babe, and her trainer, Doug MacDonald, said the 4-year-old filly - off five weeks after a pair of grueling races against the outstanding Monashee - won the race "on sheer determination."

Welch further atoned for his Oaks misadventure with a well-rated sprint tally aboard the invader Cool Synsation ($4.80) in the Red Diamond Express. "He's really fast, but I was able to get him to relax once we cleared," said Welch of the 3-year-old gelding who covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.60 - the fastest clocking of the meet.

Assinboia Downs invader Arthurlooksgood ($5.80) avenged his close defeat to Candid Remark in last year's Breeders' to best that game rival by a neck.

Jim's Choice ($29.10) flew out of the gate under Dan Boudreau and never looked back to close out the day with a neck victory over Ballintoy in the Alberta Premier's Futurity.

Total handle for the 10-race program was $622,364, a record for Fall Classic Day.