08/19/2009 11:00PM

Summer Song short price in Edmonton Distaff


EDMONTON, Alberta - Summer Song figures to be a short price in the $75,000 City of Edmonton Distaff for fillies and mares at Northlands Saturday. The 1 1/16-mile Distaff goes as the ninth of 12 races and is the supporting feature to the Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby.

Summer Song, trained by Alan May, couldn't have been more impressive winning the 1 1/16-mile Madamoiselle Stakes here by seven lengths over Littlemiss Allison. She tugged jockey Mario Gutierrez to the lead while three wide, and when Gutierrez turned her loose she immediately opened up a clear lead.

In her only other start this year, Summer Song finished third for trainer Troy Taylor in a $75,000 optional sprint at Hastings on July 11. The winner, Wind Storm, is the top older filly or mare sprinter at Hastings.

May and Taylor share the training duties for owners Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella. May manages the horses when they are at Pegasus Training Center in Washington and here at Northlands. Taylor oversees their training at Hastings.

May was impressed with Summer Song at Pegasus this winter.

"I thought she was a runner and she really showed it last time," said May. "Troy was high on her from the first day they got her."

The Madamoiselle was Summer Song's first stakes win. Gutierrez retains the mount.

Tanika, third as the favorite in the Madamoiselle, could improve as a second-time Lasix user. Trained by Barry Brown, Tanika was the champion older filly or mare in Alberta last year but her only win this year came in a $40,000 optional race in her seasonal debut.

Victory Romance and Littlemiss Allison both have good speed and will need to avoid an early duel to have any chance of upsetting Summer Song.

Russell has two rooting interests

Trainer Monica Russell is hoping for a big effort from Tease the Tiger in the Canadian Derby. She will also be rooting for Summer Song in the Distaff. Russell gallops most of her own horses and she has been the exercise rider for Summer Song since she shipped here from Hastings.

"She is a big, strong mare and she is doing extremely well right now," Russell said of Summer Song. "She is going to be tough to beat."

One of the horses in her barn that she doesn't gallop is Tease the Tiger.

"We just don't get along," she said.

Russell is confident that Tease the Tiger, who is coming off of a second-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Manitoba Derby, will relish the grueling derby distance of 1 3/8 miles.

"He's a laid-back, cool competitor," said Russell. "He made up almost six lengths in the Manitoba Derby and he acts like he can run all day."

Distance no problem for Cool Diablo

Trainer Cody Anderson is hoping the added distance and home field advantage will help Cool Diablo be competitive with the tough group of horses shipping in for the derby.

"He won't mind the distance," said Anderson. "The company is another story, and this will be a real test for him. But it's a tough ship for them and you never know how they are going to handle the track."

Last year Cool Diablo's half-brother Cool Ventura, also trained by Anderson, finished third in the derby. Cool Ventura is entered in the seventh race on Saturday, an allowance race that drew some of the top older horses at Northlands.

Recent purchase straight to derby

Trainer Robertino Diodoro is just getting acquainted with Crowned Royal, who will break from the outside stall in the 12-horse derby. Crowned Royal was purchased Wednesday morning by John Stavropoulos and Cory Wagner. In his last start, Crowned Royal finished fifth for trainer Wayne Catalano in a $50,000 optional race at Arlington Park on Aug. 8. He has won going 1 1/8 miles over Polytrack at Arlington and he has also won races on the dirt at Oaklawn and Churchill.

"We've been trying to get a derby horse for months but they are just hard to come by," said Diodoro. "We looked at buying or claiming at least 30 horses before we finally made the deal for this guy on Tuesday. This is the hand we've been dealt and we're going to play it."

Scorewithcater long way from home

There is no doubt that the horses shipping in for the Canadian Derby have stronger credentials than the local horses. Nonetheless, it's a tough ship and the contrast from where they are coming from is significant, especially Scorewithcater.

Scorewithcater wasn't far from the Mexican border when he worked six furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 12. It's possible he'll be able to see the Northern Lights before he heads home from Northlands.