09/14/2006 11:00PM

Chestnut Lady appears ideal fit for Grade 3 Oaks


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Emerald Downs-based trainer Jim Penney knows what kind of horse it takes to win major races at Hastings. He shipped Flamethrowintexan up to win the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby in 2004 and said he thinks he has the right kind of filly in Chestnut Lady for the Grade 3, $150,000 Breeders' Cup Oaks next Saturday.

Chestnut Lady certainly has the right kind of running style for Hastings. A Kentucky-bred by Horse Chestnut, Chestnut Lady has tactical speed, and the way the Oaks shapes up she should get a perfect stalking trip behind Hurry an Notis, who still has to prove she can get 1 1/8 miles in top company.

Kay Cooper, who is Penney's daughter and assistant trainer, likes the way Chestnut Lady is coming up to the Oaks.

"She's been lightly raced and she is training very well right now," Cooper said. "She's an average-sized filly, so I think she'll do just fine on the smaller track up there."

With Excited Miss out of the Oaks picture, Chestnut Lady looks like the one to beat. She was 4-5 to win the Washington BC Oaks at Emerald but she came up a head short to She's All Silk. In her previous start she won the Kent Handicap by seven lengths.

"She might have let She's All Silk get away from her," said Cooper. "But, it was a very good race for her and we anticipate a good race from her next week."

Chestnut Lady will have a new rider for the Oaks. The leading rider at Hastings, Pedro Alvarado, has picked up the mount.

"I was surprised when Pedro's agent called and told me Excited Miss was out and that he would like to ride our filly," Cooper said. "He should suit her perfectly and we're happy to get him. We're also happy to have a filly like Chestnut Lady. She's a sweetheart and she's just a really nice horse to be around."

Janet Armstrong trains Oaks contender Sophie's Trophy, who finished third in the Washington BC Oaks, and she thinks Chestnut Lady is the one to beat. In her last start, Sophie's Trophy finished a fast-closing second to Excited Miss in the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

"Chestnut Lady beat us fair and square," said Armstrong. "But Sophie is training better than ever and we should have a bit of an advantage running over our home track."

Armstrong was actually disappointed that Excited Miss, who is trained by Barb Heads, will miss the Oaks.

"I like to see the best horses in the big races," she said. "It's all about competition. It would have been a much better race with Barb's filly in there."

With her late-running style Sophie's Trophy will also appreciate what figures to be a lively pace.

Sangara's horses run big during his absence

Owner K.K. Sangara has been on quite a roll lately and hopes it continues when he runs Seven Secrets and Ok Nothanksforaskn in the B.C. Derby next Sunday.

On Sept. 3-4, horses owned by Sangara won three stakes in Canada. Financingavailable and Only If Split won stakes on the same card at Woodbine on Sept. 4. Seven Secrets won the Richmond Derby Trial at Hastings on Sept. 3. Sangara has been vacationing in Europe and wasn't on hand to watch any of the races.

"It's the hottest streak he's ever had," said his father, Terry Sangara. "He'll be back in time for the derby and it's the one race he really wants to win."

Terry Sangara owned K D's Knight, who finished second behind Pole Position in the 1979 B.C. Derby.

"He also finished second to him in the Premier's," said Sangara. "That's the closest either of us has come."

Fuentes opts for Dance Odyssey

Jockey Frank Fuentes had a tough decision to make regarding which horse to ride in the Sadie Diamond Futurity on Sept. 30.

Last Saturday, he rode Dance Odyssey, who won a maiden special weight race by nine lengths. Later on the card he won the fillies division of the CTHS Sales Stakes with Suva. Dance Odyssey's final time for 6 1/2 furlongs was 1:18.57 compared with the 1:19.25 Suva posted for her win in the Sales Stakes. Dance Odyssey is trained by Robbie Anderson. Steve Henson trains Suva.

Fuentes is represented by Gord Rumble, who made the decision to ride Dance Odyssey.

"It's nice to be in a position to have to make that kind of choice," he said. "What made it so difficult is that Robbie and Steve are Frank's biggest supporters. Plus, they are both very nice fillies."

* According to trainer Troy Taylor, Thesaratogaexpress, who won the colts division of the Sales Stakes last Sunday, isn't eligible for the Jack Diamond Futurity and will be turned out for the rest of the year.

* A memorial service for Anne Bailey will be held 1 p.m. Tuesday in the George Royal room. Bailey, a veterinary-technician at Hastings, died when Comair Flight 5191 crashed when it was taking off from an airport in Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 27.