09/12/2011 11:12AM

Woodbine: Oh Canada preps for Ontario Derby against elders

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Michael Burns
Oh Canada will prep for the Ontario Derby in an optional claimer Wednesday night.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Oh Canada, one of the leading 3-year-olds at Woodbine, will prep for the Sept. 24 Ontario Derby in a second-level optional $62,500 claimer here Wednesday night.

Oh Canada will meet older opposition for the first time in the seven-furlong sprint. He took his season opener April 16 in the six-furlong Woodstock Stakes and then wound up third three weeks later in the rapidly run Queenston Stakes over seven furlongs.

Oh Canada prepped for the Queen’s Plate by running third in the May 21 Marine Stakes, but he finished up the track in the $1 million Plate after dueling through fast fractions in the 1 1/4-mile fixture.

Oh Canada has been idle since his valiant effort in the July 17 Prince of Wales Stakes, the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown at Fort Erie. He led until deep stretch in the 1 3/16-mile dirt route, before ending up a close third behind Pender Harbour and Bowman’s Causeway.

Trainer Bob Tiller said races haven’t been filling for Oh Canada, and that he scratched him from one optional claimer because of an undesirable draw.

“I was trying to find an appropriate race,” Tiller said. “We had him in once where he drew the outside post, and we weren’t happy with that. He’s very fresh and very happy. It’s always tough running a 3-year-old against older horses, but we have no choice. We’re just lucky to have this race fill. We hope to win it. He’s had two months off, and I intend on running him in the Ontario Derby, if he’s okay.”

Luis Contreras, who won on two Tiller trainees last Sunday, will ride Oh Canada.

Thundering Waters has evolved into a turf specialist this summer, but he graduated over seven furlongs on the Polytrack in May. He went on to perform well in two grass stakes, the Charlie Barley and Toronto Cup, and was a narrow winner in a seven-furlong allowance for 3-year-olds Aug. 11.

Something Extra should be the dominant speed. He launched his campaign with a third in the Woodstock and eventually won a seven-furlong allowance, before ending up second to favored Clement Rock in the Charlie Barley. He lost a heartbreaker to Thundering Waters after participating in a front-end battle Aug. 11.

Tierra Del Tigre and The Boys Ring finished two-three in a six-furlong optional claimer Aug. 20.