07/31/2009 11:00PM

Almost Time rusty for route


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Dino Condilenios is confident Almost Time will be able to successfully stretch out to 1 1/16 miles in the $50,000 Stellar's Jay for 3-year-olds at Hastings on Monday.

The Stellar's Jay is one of six stakes races supporting the $100,000 B.C. Cup Classic, which features a matchup between two B.C. Derby winners, Spaghetti Mouse and Krazy Koffee. All six of the supporting stakes are worth $50,000.

Almost Time goes into the Stellar Jay off four straight wins and has clearly dominated the local 3-year-olds sprinting. He easily won both of his races this year, the Jim Coleman Province on May 9 and a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race on May 31. It has been two months since Almost Time ran, however, and he is facing proven route stakes winners in Gotta Find Bubba and Tommy Danzigger. Almost Time was a vet scratch the morning of the Chris Loseth Stakes on July 1 when he came up with a sore foot.

"Obviously the time away is a concern," said Condilenios. "Plus he's running against horses that have gone long a couple of times. He's been training well, though, and I am sure he'll get the distance."

Frank Fuentes retains the mount.

Hungry for Life could be the sleeper. He came from far back to win a maiden special weight race in his second start on July 18, and being a half-brother to Krazy Koffee he should relish the extra distance.

"I just hope he doesn't get lost going around three turns for the first time," said his trainer, Cindy Krasner. "He has talent but he is giving away a lot of experience."

Dave Wilson rides Hungry for Life.

Against the Sky returns in Distaff

Against the Sky is by far the best horse in the 1 1/8-mile Distaff for fillies or mares. She is the only route stakes winner in the field and was voted the champion older filly or mare in the province last year. She hasn't raced, however, since she finished fourth in the 6 1/2-furlong Brighouse Belles on May 3 and could be vulnerable coming off of this long of a layoff.

"She worked a strong mile and then came back with a sharp five furlongs last Tuesday, so I think she's fit enough," said her trainer, Craig MacPherson.

Frank Fuentes rides Against the Sky.

Diamond Berries should appreciate the move to a route following a troubled sixth in a $25,000 optional claiming race on July 25. She won a one-mile $40,000 starter race at Golden Gate in her previous start on Feb 1.

B R Remark draws well for Sprint

Trainer Brian Giesbrecht was pleased when B R Remark drew posto5 in the 6 1/2-furlong Sprint. B R Remark was the champion sprinter here in 2007 and 2008, but he is looking for his first win at the meet. He finished a close third in a $75,000 optional claiming race on June 27.

"He got bottled up down on the rail in his last start," said Giesbrecht. "He should get a perfect trip from the outside post."

Only five horses entered the Sprint, but it should be an exciting race. Woombroom Express, trained by Quint McCabe, has been impressive winning two straight allowance races and could end up being the favorite.

Trainer Dave Forster elected to run Wind Storm against the boys in the Sprint instead of trying to stretch her out in the Distaff. She has won 3 of 4 starts this year, including the $53,000 Senate Appointee on June 7.

"A mile and an eighth might be a bit too far for her," said Forster, referring to the distance of the Distaff. "We know she can sprint."

* Huitzilopochtli and Dyna Stroll look like the top two horses in the 6o1/2-furlong Nursery for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Huitzilopochtli, trained by Juan Olmos, ran an impressive race to beat Dyna Stroll in the River Rock Resort Stakes on July 12.

* The 6 1/2-furlong Debutante for 2-year-old fillies drew nine horses and appears to be a wide-open race.

Emerald City, trained by Terry Clyde, comes into the race off a narrow victory over Vying Ty Grr in the Boulevard Casino Stakes on July 11.

Oh So Notised and Sweet N Sour figure to move forward off their matchup on July 25, when Oh So Notised overtook Sweet N Sour in the stretch to win a maiden special weight race by almost two lengths.

* Tierra Del Fuego will be a short-priced favorite to win the 1 1/16-mile Dogwood for 3-year-old fillies. Trained by Barbara Heads, Tierra Del Fuego beat P S Good N Ready in the Supernaturel Stakes on July 1. P S Good N Ready and Quillo's Intention look like the main threats in the seven-horse field.