04/29/2002 12:00AM

18 months later, Yaletown reappears


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Yaletown became the Cinderella story of 1999 when he came within a neck of winning the B.C. Derby at Hastings Park.

Bought privately for $2,500, Yaletown started out as a claiming horse and hadn't actually run in a stakes race before the derby. The derby didn't turn out to be a one-shot deal though, he went on to win John Longden 6,000 in 2000 and came within a nose of winning the $100,000 Speed to Spare at Northlands Park. The clock struck midnight for Yaletown, however, when he injured his tendon the first time the tried the turf at Bay Meadows in November 2000. He's making a comeback this year and his trainer, Jerome Partington, has him entered in Wednesday's seventh race at Hastings Park.

"It was just a miniscule tear on his tendon but it was detected right away," said Partington. "He's been so good to us so we didn't want to take any chances and so we gave him to time off. Right now he's doing as well as ever."

Partington has had a hard time getting Yaletown racing fit this year but not because of any physical problems. "He's not much of a work horse unless you can hook him up in company," he explained. "None of our other horses are fast enough to warm him up in the mornings and I haven't been able to find anyone that wants to work with him because he'll go in 59 and change for five-furlongs if he has company."

Partington is looking at Wednesday's race as more of a work than a race. "We're prepping for the Longden [June 9] and six furlongs is a little short for him. He'll drop back, settle, and then make one good run at the end."

Partington has elected to ride newcomer Robert May, who takes the place of injured Brian Johnson. "Yaletown needs someone who sits quiet on a horse and lets him run his own race. May reminds me a lot of Brian and he should suit the horse perfectly."

May, 35, was born in Lafayette, La. and has ridden all over North America. He hooked up with his agent, Ryan Deyotte, at the end of the Assiniboia Downs meet last year and ventured out to Hastings Park in the fall.

"Ryan told me that I would fit in here nicely and so far so good," said May.

It's always helpful for a new rider at any meet to be at the right place at the right time and when Sam Krasner booked off his mounts on Sunday, May ended up picking up a winner, Alfastar, for Steve Bryant. It won't hurt riding for a trainer who figures to battle for leading trainer honors.

"It was a nice one to pick up and I also finished second on Waddaguy for Steve on opening day."

May has also found a couple of nice 3-year-olds to ride. He finished a fast-closing third on stakes placed Woody's Diamond in a $50,000 optional race Sunday and likes the prospects of Mega Max, who won a straight maiden race opening day.

Condilenios no longer blanked

Trainer Dino Condilenios breathed a sigh of relief after Lord Nelson had an easy time of it winning the George Royal Stakes on Sunday. Condilenios had gotten off to a slow start this year, going 0 for 10 at the meet until Lord Nelson won.

"I'm not sure why they haven't been running that well," said Condilenios. "A lot of them had the virus about a month ago and maybe it's had a greater effect than I thought."

Condilenios had Lord Nelson primed and the horse couldn't have been more impressive. He broke alertly and could have gotten involved with Danzilation and Kat Dancer early, but jockey Frank Fuentes eased him back and asked him to move at the quarter pole where he took control and never looked back.