07/30/2004 11:00PM

Shanghied vs. Albarino in derby

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Shanghied and Albarino, the top two contenders, will be at opposite ends of the starting gate Monday for the 56th running of $100,000 Manitoba Lotteries Derby at Assiniboia Downs. Shanghied drew the rail and Albarino the outside in the field of seven 3-year-olds.

The 1 1/8-mile Manitoba Derby is the province's premier race and the highlight of the biggest day of the meeting. Monday's card also features three $40,000 supporting stakes: the six-furlong Winnipeg Futurity, the one-mile Wheat City, and the one-mile Jack Hardy.

Trained by Bert Blake, Shanghied has won all three of his starts since coming here from New York, including the six-furlong Golden Boy and the 1 1/16-mile Derby Trial. Most recently, the son of A.P. Indy romped to a 7 3/4-length victory in the Derby Trial, setting the pace for the first time in his career.

Albarino also went to the front for the first time in his most recent start, a win over maiden special company at Woodbine in a 1 1/16-mile race that was his first attempt at a route of ground. Trained by former Assiniboia Downs trainer Sandy McPherson and owned and bred by Ross McKague of Brandon, Manitoba, Albarino will make his first start away from Woodbine in the derby.

Trainer Raymond Liu claimed Skipper for $20,000 in March of this year with this race in mind. Skipper finished second behind Shanghied in his last two stakes races. Between those appearances, Skipper won a first-level allowance as the heavy favorite.

Canterbury Park-based trainer Doug Oliver and jockey Scott Stevens won last year's Manitoba Derby with Hero's Pleasure, and they are back with Plum Red.

Like Hero's Pleasure, Plum Red comes into the derby after racing on turf in his most recent start. A son of Red Ransom, his lone win came against maiden special weight company at Turf Paradise in his third career start.

Stonewall Harris was claimed for $15,625 by trainer Harry Kube for owner Kurt Zimmer in his first start of 2004, and won a first-level allowance in his next start. Stonewall Harris finished third behind Shanghied and Skipper in both the Golden Boy and Derby Trial, and was second behind Coal Smudge in the restricted Manitoba Stakes.

Coal Smudge has won four restricted stakes races in his career. In four starts outside of restricted company this year, Coal Smudge was well beaten each time, including sixth-place finishes in both the Derby Trial and Golden Boy.

Alberta invader Royalty Boy won an optional $32,000 claiming race at Northlands Park in his most recent start.