07/03/2007 11:00PM

B.C. Classic may be three-way rematch


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The first three finishers in the Grade 3 Lieutenant Governors last Sunday - Spaghetti Mouse, Timeless Passion, and Forceful Intention - all came out of the race in good shape, and according to their trainers, they're all being pointed to the $100,000 B.C. Cup Classic on Aug. 6.

With his win in the Lieutenant Governors, Spaghetti Mouse improved his record at 1 1/8 miles to 5 wins from 6 starts. The Classic is also at nine furlongs, and he will likely be a heavy favorite to win the race for the second straight year. In the 2006 Classic, Spaghetti Mouse beat Canadian champion True Metropolitan by more than four lengths. According to his trainer, Ned Sams, Spaghetti Mouse will remain at Hastings the rest of the year.

"It works out perfectly for him," said Sams. "His schedule is pretty much mapped out for the rest of the year."

If everything goes according to plan, Spaghetti Mouse will make three more starts this year. After the Classic, Sams will point him to the S.W. Randall Plate on Sept. 3, and then send him home after he runs in the Grade 3 B.C. Premiers on Oct. 14.

"He likes to run about once a month," said Sams. "Last year we ran him in the Churchill, which was three weeks after he won the Randall, and he seemed like a tired horse going into the Premiers. Mind you, he ran second to True Metropolitan in both the Churchill and Premiers, so it wasn't like he ran bad races. But he just seems to do better with a little more time between his races."

Sams also said that Luhuk's Dancer, who finished last in the Lieutenant Governors, would probably run in the Classic.

"He's better than that, and I think it was just a matter of bringing him back too soon after he ran such a big race two weeks ago," said Sams.

Timeless Passion came from last to finish second in the Lieutenant Governors at more than 25-1. His trainer, Carl Lausten, wasn't surprised by the strong performance.

"You know we've always liked him," said Lausten. "He just needed a good pace to run at and he finally got one. Hopefully they'll go that quickly up front in the Classic."

The interior fractions for the Lieutenant Governors were 23.19 seconds, 46.59, and 1:10.78. Final time for the race was 1:49.61.

Forceful Intention set the early pace and held on well to finish third. According to his trainer, Michael Turner, Forceful Intention could run in the $400,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 19, just 13 days after the Classic.

"The Mile is back a little quicker than I would like," said Turner. "About three weeks between races would be ideal. But a mile just might be his best distance. It would be like a long sprint for him."

John Gray heads for the hills

The organizers of Princeton Racing Days at Sunflower Downs in Princeton, British Columbia, on June 29 couldn't have foreseen the bizarre incident that took place in the sixth race.

John Gray was sitting in good position in second place until he bolted and dumped his rider, April Friesen, going into the stretch turn. He proceeded to jump over the outside fence and then headed into the mountains, where he disappeared for about 1 1/2 hours.

"Nobody could find him," said his trainer, Frank Barroby. "I was so mad at him that when I got to April, who was still laying on the track but was okay, I told her that I was sorry and that I didn't care if he ever came back. She said, 'But, Frank, he's still got my tack on.'"

Barroby's wife, Lynn, and Bryan Anderson, who was the leading breeder in B.C. last year and was volunteering as the track veterinarian, went looking for him in Anderson's Land Rover.

"We looked for over a half an hour before we gave up," said Anderson. "One of the local cowboys on horseback finally found him."

According to Barroby, John Gray came back without a scratch on him.

"His racing days are over, though," said Barroby. "He'll make a good jumper or maybe a pack horse."

Princeton is a small town about 3 1/2 hours east of Vancouver. Sunflower Downs is located in the foothills just outside of the town. The track races one day a year, and most of the people involved in putting on the show are volunteers.

Dunn, longtime steward, dies at 84

Longtime steward W.D.F. "Don" Dunn died June 25 at age 84. He also served as a racing secretary, but is remembered mostly for his work as a steward.

When he was inducted into the B.C. Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1997, Dunn said: "I tried to be as lenient as possible when handing out penalties, but you had to be tough sometimes. It was not an easy job."

Bill Goodwin, a retired steward who worked with Dunn for 17 years, said: "Dunn set an example for other officials to follow both on and off the track. He treated everyone the same, from hotwalkers to grooms to millionaire owners."

Dunn was part of a prominent racing family that included his brothers, George, a trainer and a starter on the Canadian prairies; Wilson, a steward and the breeder of George Royal; and Wally, a trainer who is also in the B.C. Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Dunn is survived by his wife, Sophie, and their two children, Patricia and Peter.