07/02/2004 12:00AM

Strike an Image goes for second stakes

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Strike an Image is the one to beat in Sunday's $20,000 North Dakota Derby at Assiniboia Downs, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds eligible through the North Dakota Thoroughbred Association.

Trained by Jack Robertson, Strike an Image won last year's restricted North Dakota Futurity. This year, the daughter of Patriot Strike has raced twice, finishing fifth in the Chantilly Stakes in her most recent effort.

Strike an Image will break from post 5 with Jason Leacock in the irons.

Dakota Dixie finished second in last year's North Dakota Futurity, a half-length behind Strike an Image. A half-sister to 2002 North Dakota Derby winner Winaferd, Dakota Dixie has raced four times this year, all against maiden special weight company.

Dakota Dixie added Lasix and blinkers in her last start and finished second, her best showing of the year. She will break from post 4 with Travis Hightower up for the first time.

Princess Brooke, a daughter of 1992 North Dakota Derby winner Patty Kim, has raced three times this year, all against maiden special weight company. She finished second in her most recent start, beaten three-quarters of a length.

Trained by Jim McDonald, Princess Brooke starts from the rail with Gary Melanson on board.

Trainer Martin Drexler will send out Princess Joy and Mercedes High.

Princess Joy, who has finished fifth in two starts against maidens this year, breaks from post 3 with Larren Delorme in the saddle. Mercedes High, a half-brother to 1997 North Dakota Derby winner Bold Aferd, has been well-beaten in two starts here this year. He begins from post 8 with Beth Butler in the irons.

Also entered are Jo Nitro (post 2, Vince Guerra); Silky Black (post 6, Orlando Martinez); and Rez Runner (post 7, Tim Gardiner).