09/26/2007 11:00PM

Pat of Gold returns quickly for Oaks

EmailEDMONTON, Alberta - The Alberta Breeders' Handicap gets top billing on Saturday's Northlands Park card but the six other stakes for Alberta-breds also offer interesting scenarios.

First will be the $50,000 Sturgeon River for 2-year-old fillies, which drew just six entrants and will be the first of 10 races on the program.

Bears Artiste, second in three straight stakes, will be heavily favored.

Spicy Candy, an impressive maiden winner here Sept. 15 and Chatahoochie, the only double winner in the field, rate outside chances to score an upset in the one-mile Sturgeon River

The Alberta Oaks for 3-year-old fillies appears to be at the mercy of Pat of Gold, who invades off two strong second-place efforts to the outstanding Alpine Garden at Hastings in Vancouver.

But Pat of Gold's raced just last Saturday, and a long ship and short rest could be mitigating factors in the $50,000 Alberta Oaks.

Minimus is a logical contender in the one-mile Oaks off her victory in the 3-year-old fillies Sales Stakes here Sept. 7.

Contention runs much deeper in the remaining stakes, beginning with the $50,000 Beaufort, which drew nine 3-year-old colts and geldings.

Howsitgoinghotshot and Hurricane Tiki, second and third to Kadence in the male division of the 3-year-old Sales Stakes last out, renew their rivalry.

Both Howsitgoinghotshot and Hurricane Tiki figure to be part of the early pace, while late closers Wood B Nice and Bold Rico have decent shots to upset in the 1 1/16-mile Beaufort.

The $75,000 Distaff, a handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, drew nine entrants and post positions may decide the outcome.

She's Italian, the 121-pound highweight, drew the advantageous rail, while Banjo Babe, in with 119 pounds, drew the extreme outside post.

The Red Diamond Express, a $50,000 handicap going 6 1/2 furlongs, appears wide open this year.

Fly Esteem has credentials but has not raced since winning an allowance on Aug. 5, and defending champion Sparhawk has been off over two months.

The rapid 3-year-old Cool Synsation invades off a runaway score on the Alberta "B" circuit and is the one to catch.

The $50,000 Alberta Premier's Futurity closes out the card and a full field of 10 juveniles is lined up to contest the one-mile stakes.

Devonaire Joe, 3 for 4 lifetime and most recently second in the Canadian Juvenile at this distance, drew post 3 and is the one to beat.

Ballintoy, visually impressive in winning his maiden in a sprint here on Sept. 12, drew post 4 and stretches out for the first time.

Native Wrangler has early speed but must overcome his outside post.