04/28/2008 12:00AM

Ronaldino makes amends


CALGARY, Alberta – A century ago, the arrival of a new gunfighter sent a buzz through town. In 2008 the Wild West is a lot tamer, but when trainer Terry Jordan, a finalist in Sovereign balloting last year, sets foot on these grounds the locals can be seen scurrying for cover.

Jordan’s raids on Alberta the past several years have been hugely successful in stakes, with one of his few misfires coming in last year’s Alberta Derby when Ronaldino could not handle a muddy surface and faded to last after prompting the early pace.

The recent inclement weather here had Jordan understandably concerned. But last Saturday dawned clear and warm and Ronaldino powered home to capture the Stampede Park Sprint Championship by 2 1/2 lengths over Laketon in a meet-best clocking of 1:10 for six furlongs over a drying-out surface rated good.

Laketon certainly provided a game chase through the first 5 1/2 furlongs, but Ronaldino drew off with authority in the final sixteenth under a hand ride from leading rider Quincy Welch.

o Jordan’s plan was to run the table with his 4-year-old filly Alpine Garden in Sunday’s M.R Jenkins Memorial, with just four rivals from the local contingent in opposition. It was not to be as Beth’s Best Bet led wire to wire under confident handling by Rickey Walcott to prevail by a length over Tanika in 1:09.80 over a fast strip.

“My filly wanted to go down the backstretch and I just let her run,” said Walcott. “She has natural speed.”

Walcott did hit Beth’s Best Bet right-handed twice in the closing strides when Tanika made her bid. Alpine Garden did not fire and was last in the field of five.