05/23/2007 11:00PM

Alberta Derby next stop for Ookashada


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - According to trainer Toni Cloutier, Ookashada came out of his win Monday in the $55,389 Jim Coleman Province Stakes at Hastings in excellent shape and will be pointed to the $125,000 Alberta Derby at Stampede Park on June 16.

Ookashada was the champion juvenile in British Columbia in 2006, but in his first start as a 3-year-old he finished second in the CTHS Sales Stakes. An early duel with Thesaratogaexpress was part of the reason for his loss, but in general, Ookashada was a pretty wound-up horse. Cloutier took the blinkers off for the 6 1/2-furlong Province and it clearly helped Ookashada relax during the early stages of the race.

"He was pretty keyed up for his first start this year," said Toni Cloutier's assistant trainer and husband Mark Cloutier. "It was probably a combination of that he had been off for a while and that we had him pretty cranked up. He was a lot more settled going into this race. He wasn't washy in the paddock and he was a lot more relaxed in the gate. Things couldn't have worked out any better and I think he's turned into a much better racehorse."

With Pedro Alvarado aboard, Ookashada looked comfortable sitting just behind Thesaratogaexpress and Ghost Pirate, who battled for the early lead. Ghost Pirate dropped out of it going down the backstretch, and Alvarado urged Ookashada into contention at the quarter pole. He was a length behind turning for home but outkicked Thesaratogaexpress to win by a length.

"We finally got him to sit behind horses and didn't mind getting dirt kicked in his face," said Alvarado. "In his first start this year he was on the bit the whole way. This time he relaxed beautifully and when I got after him he really responded."

Napa may be headed out of town

Napa is another locally based horse that could make her next start in Alberta. Trained by Dino Condilenios, Napa pulled off an upset in the $55,733 Emerald Downs Stakes for 3-year-old fillies here last Sunday.

Napa does her best running late, and she had a little help from her stablemate Sophisticated Star, who was used as a rabbit.

"It set up pretty nicely," said Frank Fuentes, who rode Napa. "Going into the first turn they were all rushing up trying to get position, so I just let her settle in behind. She was full of run, and going down the backstretch she was probably a little closer than I wanted her to be. But when she turned for home she kicked in pretty good, and it didn't hurt that the horses she passed were going head and head down the backstretch."

Napa lost a shoe in the race and, according to Condilenios, she also grabbed a quarter.

"It's not a big deal and it's something we can deal with," he said. "There's nothing for her here in the next little while, so we might take her to Alberta for a race."

If Napa does go to Alberta, her next start would be in the one-mile $75,000 Penny Ridge Stakes June 17.

Maiden surprises Condilenios

Condilenios got his first three wins at the meet on Monday. Not that his horses were running poorly. Most of his horses have hit the board and he has had eight second-place finishes.

He's on a bit of a roll now, though. Beckenbaur, who won a maiden special weight sprint Monday, might have earned a trip to the Alberta Derby.

"Honestly, I never thought he would win sprinting," said Condilenios. "He really wants to go long and I just think he's a pretty nice horse."

Suva ships to Woodbine for Oaks

Suva was heavily favored in the Emerald Downs but she didn't have a great trip and finished a non-threatening third.

Her trainer, Steve Henson, shrugged off the race and said she will make her next start in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on June 10. Suva arrived at Woodbine on Thursday morning.

"It just wasn't her day," said Henson, referring to the Emerald Downs while speaking by cellphone from the Woodbine barn area. "She came out of the race okay, though, and she's really a route horse so we're going to take a shot. She handled the flight well and everything looks great."

Henson intended to return to Vancouver on Thursday evening. Suva's exercise rider, Brian O'Riordan, will stay with her at Woodbine until the race. Henson plans to fly back to Toronto next weekend to supervise a work and will remain there until she runs. Suva is stabled in the Kinghaven Farms shed row.

Lord Vic carries too light a load

Any time you're dealing with tight deadlines, the odd mistake is bound to occur. When the official program was printed for the second race on May 19, an incorrect weight was listed.

Lord Vic, who won the race by three-quarters of a length over Bengal, was supposed to carry 122 pounds. Due to a rare undetected error by the racing office, he packed 117 pounds.

In some jurisdictions, the purse would have been taken away and redistributed. In British Columbia, that isn't the case.

John Snow, who trains Bengal, said he thinks the mistake cost him a win.

"As a handicapper I'm absolutely sure that the five pounds made a big difference," Snow said. "If he carries 122 pounds we win the race."

Calendar Girl may get second chance

Calendar Girl endured a rough trip in the Selene Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine last Sunday, a race won by Bear Now.

"She was making a move, but two horses came down on her and she had to check pretty hard," said her trainer, Terry Jordan. "She wasn't going to beat the winner, but I think she would have hit the board. She might run in an allowance race at Woodbine before we bring her back to Hastings."

Jordan also said that True Metropolitan would remain at Woodbine after his third-place finish in the Eclipse Stakes last Monday.