06/13/2007 11:00PM

Pretty Maid has Ferguson back in the thick of it

Email

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - With 3 wins from 10 starts, trainer Shauna Ferguson is off to a strong start at the meet, and she appears to have a good one on her hands in Pretty Maid. A 3-year-old filly by Western Fame, Pretty Maid upset stakes winners Napa and Chelsey's Image in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race last Saturday. It was just her second start this year, and as well as facing winners for the first time, Pretty Maid had her first try going around three turns.

Pretty Maid came from 12 lengths back to win a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race April 28, but she was a bit closer to the pace when she stretched out for the first time last weekend.

"She's a lovely filly," said Ferguson. "The first part of the race she actually showed a bit more speed, but then she dropped out of it. She can really run down the lane, though."

According to Ferguson, Pretty Maid will likely make her next start in the $50,000 Supernaturel on July 7.

"The timing is good," she said. "It's about a month away. We sat with her quite a while before we brought her back for this race. After she broke her maiden, there was a race for her in two weeks, but I wanted to give her more time. It's a long year."

Ferguson is well known for the job she did with Kid Katabatic. Ferguson trained Kid Katabatic throughout a career that saw him win 14 stakes and earn $626,815 before he retired in 2002. His most important win came in the 1997 Longacres Mile. Because the Mile was always the main goal for Kid Katabatic, Ferguson moved her base of operations from Hastings to Emerald Downs. She spent four years at Emerald before moving back to British Columbia. This is her first year as a full-time trainer since she returned to Canada.

"It just made sense at the time to go to Emerald," she said. "It was the best place for him. But, because I was down there for that long, I lost the client base that I previously had here. When Peter Stephen retired this year, I picked up some of the horses he trained. I had a connection to some of his clients because I took care of their horses when they were on the farm."

Ferguson also reported that Kid Katabatic is enjoying his retirement.

"He's actually getting a bit too fat right now," she said. "He's a pretty happy horse, though."

Owner eyes derby conquest

Hastings-based horses figure to play a major role in the $125,000 Alberta Derby at Stampede Park on Saturday. Thesaratogaexpress, Ookashada, and Ronaldino have all been entered in the derby, which is scheduled to run at 3:13 p.m. Pacific. Also, Amazin Blue, who was claimed by local owner Peter Redekop for $100,000 out of a winning race at Santa Anita in February, could be the favorite. He is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.

"We claimed him with the idea of running in all three of the derbies up here," said Redekop. "I don't think Jerry likes coming up here, but I had him promise me that he would send him up for this one, and, if he ran well, in the other two races."

Redekop won the 2005 Canadian Derby with Alabama Rain and the B.C. Derby with Squire Jones in 1994.

"It would be nice to be able to win all three, and hopefully we can do it in one year," he said.

Redekop said that Amazin Blue would ship back to California following the race.

Jordan confident in two stakes contenders

Terry Jordan likes his chances to win the Alberta Derby with Ronaldino, and the $75,000 Penny Ridge Stakes for 3-year-old fillies with Calendar Girl on Sunday.

"He's a good horse," said Jordan, referring to Ronaldino. "I don't think the distance will be a problem. If he's good enough, he should win."

Ronaldino has started only three times in his career. He won a maiden special weight race May 13 and then came right back to win a $50,000 optional claiming race June 3. Both races were at 6 1/2 furlongs.

There were no "ifs" from Jordan when he talked about Calender Girl, who went unplaced in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes at Woodbine in her last start, May 20.

"She's in the right race this time," he said. "She was facing some pretty tough horses at Woodbine. This is a much easier spot. Plus, we discovered a little problem we didn't know about. I think you'll see a much better horse this time."

In her start before the Selene, Calendar Girl won the Mt. Royal Stakes at Stampede Park by 4 1/2 lengths.

Jockey Felipe Valdez will ship to Calgary for the weekend to ride both Ronaldino and Calendar Girl.

Suva to rest up for Dogwood

Trainer Steve Henson reported that Suva came back from her eighth-place finish in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks last Sunday in good shape and will be pointed to the British Columbia Cup Dogwood Stakes on Aug. 6.

"She's fine," he said. "But we'll give her some time to recover from the long trip. We'll skip the Supernaturel and aim for the Dogwood."

Henson also said he was considering heading back to Woodbine with a small string of horses in the middle of September.