08/24/2007 12:00AM

Affiniti One looks to improve in stakes


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - On the surface, it looks like Star Prospector and Call Me Tomorrow are standouts in the New Westminster Stakes at Hastings on Sunday. After all, they're both stakes winners and they did finish first and second in the B.C. Cup Nursery Stakes. Also, Call Me Tomorrow was well clear of the third-place finisher, Surprisal.

Nonetheless, these are 2-year-olds and a couple of the others have showed enough potential in their few starts to pose a realistic threat to the top two.

Heading the list of potential upsetters is Affiniti One. Trained by Frank Barroby, Affiniti One is a half-brother to multiple stakes winners Suva and La Belle Fleur, another horse Barroby trained. Suva was the top 2-year-old filly in the province last year, and up to this point in the 2007 season, she would have to be ranked as the top 3-year-old filly at Hastings.

Affiniti One finished a non-threatening fifth when he debuted in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race July 29. He took a big step forward when he stretched out to six furlongs in his next start, finishing a fast-closing second to Blasting Gunn, who is also entered in the New Westminster.

"I would have preferred to run him in a maiden race," Barroby said. "I like to use my conditions to develop my horses. But the race I was hoping to run him in didn't fill, so we'll try him here. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have entered him if I didn't think he was going to run a pretty good race."

Barroby has had plenty of success with 2-year-olds. He won the Jack Diamond Futurity with Snugamish in 1986 and with Ryson in 1997. Barroby also came close to winning the fillies division with Astro Beauty in 1992. Barroby had a successful career as a jockey before he retired in 1977 and he had a reputation as a very good 2-year-old rider.

"I loved riding 2-year-olds," Barroby said. "They're so honest. They give you everything they have. Mind you, I was always picking out the good ones in the mornings, too. I got to check them out pretty good and it was probably because people liked me to ride their babies."

At 64, Barroby still gets on many of his horses and he occasionally works the odd horse.

"Hopefully, I'll be able to get on them for another 25 years," he said. "Then you'll have a real story. Really, racing has been very good to me and I couldn't be happier."

Affiniti One will likely be making his move during the latter stages of the race.

Another horse with the potential to pull off an upset is Freequartersmine, who figures to be the one they have to catch.

Freequartersmine, who is trained by Toni Cloutier, was bought privately by Mike Boylan and T D Stables after he scored an impressive 8 1/2-length win in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race in his second start July 15. In his first start for his new connections, Freequartersmine set a very fast pace in the B.C. Nursery before tiring to finish fourth. Cloutier expects him to take a big step forward in his second start going around two turns.

"He's fitter now and we were able to work him a good five furlongs since he ran," she said. "He's really come along and I think he'll run a much better race."

Speed is a very desirable commodity in a racehorse and it was Freequartersmine's impressive showing going 3 1/2 furlongs that attracted his new owners. He also has some pedigree potential. He's the first foal out of Free Quarter Time, a full brother to Grade 3 Ballerina winner Grey Tobe Free, who earned more than $300,000.

"His race going 3 1/2 furlongs was one of the most impressive races here this year," Cloutier said. "If we can get him to harness his very good speed, I think he'll turn out to be a nice horse."

Alpine Garden finishes work strong

Trainer Terry Jordan sent Alpine Garden out for a sharp four-furlong move in 47.60 seconds Friday morning. With exercise rider Brian O'Riordan in the saddle, Alpine Garden finished her work full of run, getting the final eighth of a mile in 11.60 seconds. She could be favored over Suva in the $50,000 Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes for 3-year-old fillies next Saturday. The Hong Kong Jockey Club serves as the major prep for the Grade 3, $125,000 B.C. Breeders' Cup Oaks on Sept. 22.

"That was a good move for her," Jordan said. "She seems to handle any kind of track. She's coming up to her next race in very good shape."

Alpine Garden has won both her starts since she was purchased privately by Bob Cheema after finishing fourth in a maiden special weight race on turf at Churchill Downs on June 17. Under Jordan's care she won a B-level maiden special weight race at Woodbine on July 27 and then cruised to a 3 1/4-length win in the $100,000 Sonoma Handicap at Northlands Park on Aug. 11.

* Real Candy, who won the B.C. Oaks last year, has been shipped to Woodbine.

"She still has some conditions and I would like to try her on grass," trainer and part-owner Jean Spence said.