08/20/2008 11:00PM

Shippers top Canadian Derby


EDMONTON, Alberta - Matt's Broken Vow, winner of the Manitoba Derby and Woodbine's Grade 3 Marine, heads a stellar group of 10 colts and geldings in the 79th running of the $300,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park Saturday.

The field for the Grade 3 Canadian Derby, over the grueling 1 3/8-mile distance, is one of the strongest in many years, with eight out-of-town runners set to square off against local entrants Papa Time and Cool Ventura.

Matt's Broken Vow returned to Toronto after easily handling just four rivals in the 1 1/8-mile Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia Downs on Aug. 4 and makes his second trek west for trainer Josie Carroll.

A son of Broken Vow, Matt's Broken Vow has been a model of consistency, with his only off-the-board finish this season coming in the Victoria Park at Woodbine on June 8.

Carroll freshened him up following that race, and he returned two months later with his emphatic score at Assiniboia Downs. His ability to carry the 126 pounds assigned in this scaleweight stakes is in his favor, with his rivals all picking up weight. Emile Ramsammy will fly in from Toronto for the ride.

Texas Wildcatter and jockey Chad Hoverson invade from Hastings following a second-place finish, beaten a neck, against British Columbia's top older horse, Spaghetti Mouse, in the 1 1/8-mile B.C. Cup Classic on Aug. 4.

A gray son of Monarchos, Texas Wildcatter is bred to run this far and a repeat of his latest, in which Hoverson claimed foul against the winner to no avail after being fanned out in the stretch run, puts him squarely in the hunt despite picking up 12 pounds.

Papa Time closed from last to win the 1 1/16-mile Count Lathum under Jake Barton here Aug. 2 and represents the best hope for a local winner.

Discreet Commander has kept good company all summer at Woodbine and did finish ahead of Matt's Broken Vow in the Victoria Park. Although a notch below the stakes horses in Toronto, his mid-pack running style suits the race profile and he rates a look at a decent price.

Royal Hudson, another son of Monarchos, has the look of a runner wanting more ground and will be closing from well back, as will Cool Ventura.

Bears Tiger and Saratoga Avenue figure to set the early fractions, and a pair of recent claims in California - One Only and Reel Prime - test Canadian waters for the first time.