10/12/2005 11:00PM

Time for Notis Otis to make hay


EDMONTON, Alberta - Vancouver invader Notis Otis missed out on several lucrative opportunities in Western Canada after coming down with a vicious virus last spring. On Saturday, Notis Otis will challenge Alberta's top 3-year-olds in the $50,000 Western Canada Handicap here at Northlands Park.

Notis Otis won the Hastings Sophomore and an allowance and finished third in the Richmond Derby once he got back into action.

With Quincy Welch aboard, Notis Otis is the 122-pound topweight here in the field of 11. A front-runner, Notis Otis has post 2 for the 6 1/2-furlong sprint.

Heading the home forces are Ding Dong Dandy, carrying 120 pounds including Stephan Heiler. Owned by Bar None Ranches, Ding Dong Dandy was a closing runner-up to Alabama Rain in the Canadian Derby and is coming off a 2 3/4-length victory in the Beaufort here Sept. 24.

Smudgeledo wll be piloted by Rickey Walcott and has recorded 3 wins and 3 seconds from 9 starts in 2005.

Alberta Derby champion Knight's Covenant, with Leanne Painter up, is coming off third-place finishes in the Canadian Derby and the Beaufort. Knight's Covenant has the 10-hole here.

Don Gilkyson is saddling an entry in Liquid Louie and Gusso, each with two wins this year.

Golden Hunt, a winner of three races, including the President's Handicap at Calgary, is a speedy sort and is likely to go out with Notis Otis, although he leaves from the outside.