07/26/2001 11:00PM

B.C. Cup now a 3-day affair

Email

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - A total of 101 nominations were received for the seven stake races that make up the B.C. Cup Summer Celebration, scheduled for next weekend. For the first time since its inception seven years ago, the B.C. Cup will be contested over three days, instead of one big day.

"We wanted to turn it into more of a summer festival," said Hastings general manager Phil Heard. "We have events scheduled for each day, and of course the biggest day will be B.C. Day [Monday], with the Classic, Distaff and Sprint."

Six of the seven stakes, all restricted to B.C.-breds, are worth $50,000, and the 1 1/8-mile Classic is the most valuable race at $65,000. Mike K is one of the five horses nominated to both the Sprint and Classic, but his trainer, Allan Jack, said that he'll start in the Sprint.

"We've been aiming for the Longacres Mile all along, so it makes a lot more sense to sprint him than run him a mile and an eighth," said Jack.

Kid Katabatic won last year's Classic, but he may not start this year. "I've entered him in the Mt. Rainier this Sunday at Emerald," said his trainer, Shauna Ferguson. "But they're calling for rain and it will depend on the track condition [at Emerald] if he runs or not. If he doesn't run Sunday, we'll be up there next weekend."

Jockey Frank Fuentes was probably relieved to hear that Mike K would go in the Sprint, because he won't have to worry about choosing between Mike K and Lord Nelson, who could be the favorite, in the Classic.

There's a small chance Lord Nelson could skip the Classic, said his trainer, Dino Condilenios. "He's about 90 percent to go," he said. "It comes up pretty quick after his win in the Hong Kong Jockey Club [July 21], and if he shows me that he's a little tired we'll pass. But so far he's been fine and I expect that he'll run."

King Jeremy won the Stallion Stakes on B.C. Cup Day last year and went onto become the horse of the year in British Columbia. His trainer, Robbie Anderson, wasn't sure in which race King Jeremy would run next weekend.

"I'll train him differently depending on which way we go, so I'll have to make up my mind in the next couple of days," he said.

It would be nice to see Rampaging Alf and Mike K hook up in the Sprint, but Rampaging Alf's trainer, Terry Jordan, said he might run him in the Governors' Handicap at Emerald Downs instead.

Two-year-olds start off the weekend with colts and geldings in the Nursery and fillies in the Debutante. Both races are at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Excited at Last was very impressive winning the CTHS Sales Stakes July 1 but skipped the Ladnesian July 21. He'll run in the Nursery.

"The Ladnesian was worth $35,000 and this one's worth $50,000," said Dana Smith, trainer of Excited at Last. "I didn't want to run him three times in just over a month, so I focused on the ones that were worth the most money. He's training fine and should run a good race."

Excited at Last's main opponent figures to be Intact, who won the Ladnesian.

Beautiful Stranger figures to be a slight favorite over Regal Heir in the Debutante.

Both divisions of the 1 1/16-mile Stallion Stakes appear to have a solid favorite. I'm Free looks like a standout in the colts division, and Lady's Jewel, who has won both of the middle-distance stakes at the meet for 3-year-old fillies, is the favorite in the fillies' division. Both races are scheduled for Sunday.

Fabulous Flight looks like the only horse who wants to go nine furlongs in the Distaff. She finished second to Sky Borne in the Distaff last year.