Northern Contract is just getting started in his career but he has already won three of six starts including the local Golden Boy Stakes.
Trainer Don Schnell thought highly enough of the son of Northern Afleet to run him in the Turf Paradise Derby in his second lifetime start going 1 1/16-miles, and while that didn't result in a victory it did add some seasoning to the mix that should help Northern Contract in the Manitoba Derby.
Schnell has won over $4.5 million in purses and 700 races during his 40-year career as a trainer and has conditioned numerous stakes winners including Majestic Horizon to win over $500,000 and Rail Bender to win 38 races. More recently he saddled 3-year-old filly Aware to win her fifth in a row in the Chantilly Stakes.
If Schnell thinks he's got a decent horse, he's probably right.
One of two horses in this year's Manitoba Derby partially owned by Barry Arnason, Northern Contract is slated to be ridden by Adolfo Morales, who is currently second in the jockey standings and tops the list in percentages with a 27% strike rate.
Northern Contract has compiled an interesting six-start form pattern of win-lose-win-lose-win-lose. In his last start, the Harry Jeffrey Stakes, he made the lead easily but tired in the stretch to finish third. He would seem to have enough stamina in his pedigree, especially on the female side, being out of a Colonial Affair mare.
Colonial Affair won the 1993 Belmont Stakes-G1, making Julie Krone the first female jockey ever to win that race. Interestingly, Krone was also the first female jockey to win the Manitoba Derby in 1988 aboard No Malice.