07/24/2006 12:00AM

'Starlite' and Hamel take Oaks


EDMONTON, Alberta - Starlite Strike and jockey Richard Hamel enjoyed a triumphant reunion Saturday in the $100,000 Northlands Oaks, one of the two major offerings here for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

Pedestrian fractions up front in 35-degree temperatures proved to be no detriment for the late-running Starlite Strike, who in her only other start under Hamel was nipped by a nose in the Sadie Diamond Futurity last year in Vancouver.

Tartan Star set fractions of 23.80, 49.20, and 1:14.80 in the Oaks. The field bunched up turning for home in the Northlands Oaks before Starlite Strike broke free for a 1 1/2-length victory, ending the three-race winning streak of 5-2 second favorite Gabe's Prospect, who finished second.

Tartan Star, the only Alberta-bred in the field of seven, held on for third. Langara Lass, one of a trio of Vancouver invaders, nosed out Awesome Deal for fourth place. Starlite Strike paid $14.60 and covered the distance in 1:46.20.

It was a successful homecoming for Hamel, who left Alberta two seasons ago to ply his trade at Hastings.

Next up for Starlite Strike will be the Aug. 12 Sonoma, which also carries a $100,000 purse. Future options for Starlite Strike, trainer Rob Van Overschot said, include stakes at Emerald Downs and Hastings Park.