05/08/2008 11:00PM

Blue Sky Holiday sharp but unproven

Email

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Tom Longstaff has no illusions about the chances of Blue Sky Holiday if she takes on Dancing Allstar in the $50,000 Emerald Downs next Saturday at Hastings.

Blue Sky Holiday is a nice 3-year-old filly. She won her last four starts at Portland Meadows and improved dramatically when she stretched out to a middle distance. In her last two starts she won a mile-and-70-yard invitational handicap by 12 lengths Feb. 18, and she was in hand when she won the Oregon Oaks by seven lengths March 11. The horses she faced at Portland aren't close to being in the same league as Dancing Allstar, though.

Trained by Terry Jordan, Dancing Allstar was voted the top 2-year-old filly in Canada last year, and she began her 3-year-old campaign with an easy win in the $53,000 Mount Royal Handicap at Stampede Park last Sunday.

"I don't know how good my filly really is and I don't know if she can run with Dancing Allstar or not," said Longstaff. "Other than Ladys Purse, the horses she was beating at Portland were basically claiming horses."

In all four of her wins, Blue Sky Holiday was either in front or she pressed the pace. Longstaff isn't planning on sending her after the extremely speedy Dancing Allstar.

"I think she can rate," he said. "Let's put it this way, she's going to have to. She isn't going to go head and head with Dancing Allstar."

Longstaff isn't sure where Blue Sky Holiday fits at Hastings, and he is hoping to get a better feel about that this weekend.

"I am anxious to run her here," he said. "Maybe she just took to the track at Portland. She has worked okay since she's been back here, but nothing exceptional."

Blue Sky Holiday is owned by Dan Sutherland, who purchased her for $25,000 out of the 2006 Ocala yearling sale.

"Dan has been great, and he has let me do whatever I want with her," said Longstaff. "He doesn't want to see her get her head jerked off, so we might run her in a $75,000 optional race Monday instead. I don't know if it will fill or not, though."

Longstaff knows what it's like to have a dominant 3-year-old filly in his barn. He trained Dancewithavixen, who ruled the roost here in 2003. She won seven stakes that year, including the Gradeo3 Ballerina against older fillies and mares. Her first foal, Dancefourseven, is a 2-year-old filly by Victory Gallop. According to Longstaff, she should be in a race soon.

"It would be nice if she was a little bigger, but she has all of her mother's traits," said Longstaff. "I hear there are a few monsters around this year, but I think she'll be okay."

Dancewithavixen won her maiden in the B.C. Cup Debutante and went on to earn $496,039.

Royal Hudson gets class relief

Trainer Dave Forster is planning on running Royal Hudson in the $50,000 Jim Coleman next Sunday. A 3-year-old colt by Monarchos, Royal Hudson won the $110,000 Ascot Graduation in his last start at Hastings. Forster took Royal Hudson to Oaklawn Park for the winter and he didn't have much success, finishing out of the money in all three of his starts. Forster is expecting Royal Hudson to show a bit more at his home track.

"He ran into some tough ones back there," said Forster. "He got beat 13 lengths by Denis of Cork, who ran third in the Derby. I know he's going to like the horses he will be running against here a lot more."

Forster considers the Jim Coleman a prep for the $125,000 Alberta Derby on June 14 at Stampede Park.

"We're looking at the Alberta Derby and also the Canadian Derby for him," said Forster. "He should be well suited for both races."

Royal Hudson is one of the best-bred horses at Hastings. His sire won the Kentucky Derby. His dam, who was trained by Forster, won the 1982 B.C. Oaks. Her foals include Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Success Express and Greenwood Lake, who won the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes.

Forster and his wife Terri, who is his assistant trainer, enjoyed their winter in Hot Springs, Ark., and they won a couple of races at the Oaklawn meet, too. Their son Grant, who is also a trainer, had a string of horses stabled there as well. If it was up to Forster, he would probably move there on a more permanent basis.

"I really liked it down there," he said. "It is a beautiful track, a nice area, and you couldn't meet friendlier people. I would move down there in a heartbeat if I could get Mrs. Forster to go for it."

Forster, 72, was one of three trainers recently nominated as one of this year's potential inductees into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Red McKenzie and Robert Tiller were the other two.

"It's an honor, and it would be nice to get into the Hall of Fame," said Forster. "But, fame is a fleeting thing, so I'm not too worried about it."

Forster was inducted into the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2002.