10/13/2014 8:27PM

Alert Bay by a neck in Premiers


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Alert Bay wrapped up local Horse of the Year honors with a hard-fought win over longshot Mysterious Soul in the Grade 3, $100,000 Premiers at Hastings on Monday.  The Grade 3 British Columbia Derby winner, who was sent off as the favorite in Monday’s 1 3/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, paid $5.50.

“I had a perfect trip,” Rico Walcott said between breaths following the race. “I had to work hard to get him to relax, but I had a lot of horse the whole way. He fought back when he was challenged, and I was pretty confident they weren’t going to get past him once he made the lead.”

Alert Bay stalked Prohibition and Mysterious Soul, who battled through reasonable interior fractions and were lapped onto each other after six furlongs in 1:12.96. Walcott moved into serious contention on the stretch turn and outdueled a very game Mysterious Soul to win by a neck. Shooting Jacket came from well back to finish a non-threatening third.

Koffee Grinder might have given the winner all he could handle, but he got stopped cold when he was making a big move along the rail approaching the final turn.

Alert Bay is trained by Anita Bolton and owned by Peter Redekop.

The final time over a track rated “sloppy” was 2:17.93.

• Walcott showed why he is the leading rider in Western Canada when he won his third straight stakes in the $75,000 Ascot Graduation aboard Blue Dancer.

Blue Dancer paid $7 as the second choice in the wagering behind Lord Rosberg, who ran a huge race to lose the 1 1/16-mile race by a nose despite going four wide early, and also when he made a strong late move around the stretch turn. Oh Derek, who contested the early pace, finished third.

“He broke sharply, but he wanted to give up the bit,” said Walcott. “Every time I tapped him, he responded, though.”

Walcott was exhausted after the race and was looking forward to returning to Edmonton, where he has dominated the jockeys’ standings at Northlands Park the past two years.

“It was a great day, and it will help me take care of my baby over the winter,” he said referring to his 4-year-old daughter, Sundai.

Blue Dancer remained undefeated with his fourth straight win. He is trained by Greg Tracy and owned by Shot in the Dark Racing Corp. and Derby Quest Farms Ltd.

The final time was 1:46.66.