04/30/2009 11:00PM

Against the Sky wants more


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Craig MacPherson wasn't surprised heavily favored Against the Sky had her six-race win streak snapped when she finished third in a six-furlong $75,000 optional claiming race on April 19. After all, Against the Sky, who was the champion older female in British Columbia in 2008, had not won a sprint since 2005 when she won her debut in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race. Since then, she has won 10 races at 1 1/16 miles or longer. In fact, she has never lost a race longer than 6 1/2 furlongs.

"She's certainly a better horse going longer, but I thought she could win the race," said MacPherson, referring to Against the Sky's 2009 debut. "She came to hand quickly this year, so I wasn't too concerned about the distance. I think she struggled over the surface. It just proved to a lot of people that she's mortal. Not too many horses can keep that kind of streak going."

Against the Sky started her winning streak in a $20,000 claiming race last June. In her next start, she won a 1 1/8-mile $8,000 starter race open to colts and geldings by more than 10 lengths. Against the Sky whipped the boys in two 1 3/8-mile starter races before beating stakes fillies and mares in the 1 1/16-mile Delta Colleen and the Grade 3 Ballerina.

Against the Sky should appreciate the extra sixteenth she gets to work with in the 6 1/2-furlong $50,000 Brighouse Belles on Sunday.

"We're optimistic, and I am confident she can win Sunday," MacPherson said. "Obviously, we are looking at longer races for her. She came out of her first race in great shape, so we'll run her on Sunday and then go from there."

The first middle-distance stakes race for fillies and mares is the 1o1/16-mile Vancouver Sun on July 1. MacPherson said it's possible Against the Sky would run in the Senate Appointee on June 7.

"I want a fresh horse for the bigger races in the fall, so I wasn't thinking of dancing every dance," MacPherson said. "But the dances are pretty far apart."

The major goals for Against the Sky are the $100,000 Delta Colleen on Sept. 26 and the $125,000 Ballerina on Oct. 17.

Tracy brings string to Hastings

Trainer Greg Tracy, who has been based in Alberta since 2001, has brought eight horses to Hastings. Tracy said the uncertainty regarding the future of racing in southern Alberta was the main reason for the move.

"If they don't get a track running in Calgary pretty soon, it could be tough to keep racing going in Alberta," Tracy said. "I have a lot of Alberta owners, so I hope things work out, and I still have horses at Northlands. I just thought it would be a good idea to get my foot in the door here in case things fall apart back there."

One of the horses Tracy brought to Hastings is Littlemiss Allison. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred by Jump Start, Littlemiss Allison is entered in the Brighouse Belles. Littlemiss Allison won the first five races of her career, four of which were stakes races. Her last win, however, was in the Houston Oaks at Sam Houston in March 2008.

"The race kind of knocked her out," Tracy said. "She had been off all winter, and we were just looking to get a race into her before we took her back to Calgary. It was a mile, and we were hoping she would make some kind of late move. Then she went out there and won the race. I think she was a pretty tired horse after we shipped her back to Calgary. Then she ran into Dancing Allstar, and she never really came back to herself all summer."

Littlemiss Allison was turned out after a dull effort in a $40,000 optional claiming race at Sunland last December, and the time off seems to have helped her turn things around. In her first start back, she set the pace before tiring late to finish second in the $75,000 optional claiming race that Against the Sky ran in on April 19. Tracy was planning on running her back in a similar spot next weekend. He changed his mind when the nominations for the Brighouse Belles were released last week.

"I knew there was going to be a few nice horses in the race," Tracy said. "But I was surprised that none of them appear to have a lot of speed. She seems to be back in the game now and if she gets out there by herself, they could have a hard time catching her."

Tracy also will run horses in both stakes races at Hastings next weekend. Robo Willie is nominated to the $50,000 Jim Coleman Province for 3-year-olds on Saturday. Robo Willie won the Edmonton Juvenile and Birdcatcher stakes at Northlands last year. He also won the $50,000 A.C. Kemp at Albuquerque in September. In his only start this year, he finished fourth in the $25,000 Zany Tactics at Turf Paradise on March 16.

Dandy Dora is expected to run in the $50,000 Emerald Downs for 3-year-old fillies next Sunday. She also won a couple of stakes at Northlands as a 2-year-old. Her most impressive win came in the $50,000 Bird of Pay where she dominated the race, winning by 9 1/4 lengths. She hasn't started since she finished fourth after breaking poorly in the $57,000 Permian Basin at Zia Park last October.

"They both trained at Sunland Park over the winter and are doing very well right now," Tracy said.