08/24/2004 11:00PM

Outsiders assault Canadian Derby


EDMONTON, Alberta - Invaders have been dominating the Northlands Park stakes scene so far this summer, so what chance is there of the home forces reversing that trend in Saturday's $250,000 Canadian Derby?

Overact, in the Sonoma, and Illusive Force, in the Westerner, were successful shippers here this summer.

The invaders for the 11-strong Canadian Derby field include Overact, a Vancouver-based filly, and Organ Grinder, a Woodbine stakes winner.

"It will be tough," said Red Smith, the meeting's leading trainer, who will send out Kat Kool for the Canadian Derby.

Weather also could figure in the mix, as heavy rain over the past weekend, and intermittent showers since, have all but assured an off track for the 1 3/8-mile derby.

"I don't know about the slop or the mud," said Smith.

Kat Kool, he said, "has never had a race on anything but a fast track. But I think he will be able to handle it."

Kat Kool won the Hoofprint on My Heart at Stampede Park this spring and the Count Lathum in his last start here.

Royalty Boy, trained by Bruce Phelan, is coming off back-to-back victories, including the 1 1/8-mile Manitoba Derby.

Royalty Boy didn't get to the races until late last season but quickly asserted himself. After winning his maiden in his second start, Royalty Boy finished second, beaten in photo finishes, in both the restricted one-mile Alberta Premier's Futurity and the 1 1/16-mile Canadian Juvenile.

Also shipping in from Vancouver will be Lord Samarai, Joyride, Cariboo Prospector, and Proud Son.

Plenty of Heat, who has been racing in California, was claimed from his last start and will start in the Canadian Derby for his new local connections, owner John Elick and trainer Stuart Simon.

Rounding out the field are locally based Controlled Meeting and Bonspiel.