05/28/2008 11:00PM

Alpine Garden back in the mood to race


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Terry Jordan is expecting Alpine Garden to bounce back Saturday with a much better effort after her last-place finish in the $50,000 M.R. Jenkins Memorial Handicap at Stampede Park on April 27. Despite her poor performance in Alberta, Alpine Garden figures to be one of the favorites when she runs in the $50,000 Senate Appointee at Hastings on Saturday.

Alpine Garden's last-place finish had to be a shock to Jordan. After all, Alpine Garden went into the Jenkins on a four-race win streak, and she had not lost a race since Jordan took over as her trainer last July.

According to Jordan, Alpine Garden had other things on her mind when she was being loaded into the starting gate in Calgary.

"She was in heat," he said. "It turns out she just wasn't in the mood. You should have seen the fuss she made when they tried to load her. She was striking and kicking at anything that was in range. It was totally uncharacteristic of her and she just wasn't comfortable."

Jordan is confident that Alpine Garden's breeding cycle is over and that the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid is much more focused on racing going into the 6 1/2-furlong Senate Appointee. His only concern is that she probably wants more distance.

"Who knows how she's going to do sprinting," he said. "We're obviously looking at longer races in the future, but this is what we have to deal with now. All I can say is that she is doing very well right now and I think she'll run a good race."

Jordan has good reason to be concerned about the distance. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred, Alpine Garden has started 10 times in her career, and the only times she did not pick up a check was in two sprints. The second time came in her last start, and Alpine Garden finished 10th of 12 when she debuted in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race at Keeneland in the fall of 2006.

At least Alpine Garden is a fresh horse. Jordan turned her out after she won the Grade 3 B.C. Breeders' Cup Oaks last September. Traditionally the winner of the Oaks makes her next start against fillies and mares in the Grade 3 Ballerina at Hastings.

"She was a tired horse," said Jordan. "She ran at five different tracks starting in Florida. We bought her after she ran a couple of times at Churchill Downs and we moved her to Woodbine. From there she shipped to Alberta to run at Norhtlands Park, and by the time she won the Oaks, we figured she had done enough for the year."

The presence of Monashee in the Ballerina probably had some influence in Jordan's decision not to bring Alpine Garden back for the Ballerina.

"It was certainly part of the equation," said Jordan.

Star Prospector leans toward CTHS

According to Jordan, Star Prospector came out of his winning race in the $50,000 Hoofprint on My Heart Handicap at Stampede last Saturday in good shape and will probably make his next start in the 6 1/2-furlong CTHS Sales Stakes at Hastings on June 22. Jordan wasn't sure, though.

"We're also looking at the Alberta Derby," said Jordan. "But, all the good ones will be running in the derby, and he would probably have an easy time of it in the Sales Stakes. A mile might be as far as he really wants to go anyway."

The $125,000 Alberta Derby on June 14 is contested at 1 1/16 miles.

Star Prospector didn't have any trouble handling a mile in the Hoofprint on My Heart, but he finished third the only time he went 1 1/16 miles, in the Ascot Graduation last year.

Mosqueira grabs some wins

Jockey Ismael Mosqueira's business could start picking up after he won a couple of races last weekend. Mosqueira was happy just to be riding Sunday. In the morning he was carted off the track in an ambulance after getting thrown from a horse.

"I hit the ground pretty hard, and I think a horse must have stepped on my back because it was pretty sore," said Mosqueira. "It's a lot better now, and winning a few races was just what the doctor ordered."

Mosqueira, 22, rode for three years in Mexico before he arrived at Hastings last year. Between riding at Hasting and the interior tracks, he won 10 races last year.

"He rides as good a race as most of the riders here," said trainer Harold Barroby. "I think people are starting to see that now, and he should start winning a few more races. He certainly deserves a chance. He works as hard as anyone here."

Another thing that should help Mosqueira this year is that his English has improved dramatically.

"I had gone to school in Mexico to study English," he said. "But it really makes a difference to live in a country where you are speaking it all the time."