05/16/2002 11:00PM

Condilenios has eye on prize for Lord Nelson


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Lord Nelson would have been favored in Saturday's Spring Sprint Stakes at Hastings Park, but his trainer, Dino Condilenios, elected to pass the race because he wants a fresh horse for the $250,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 25.

Condilenios said Lord Nelson is doing fine, and he plans to race him in the John Longden here June 9.

"It's a great field," said Condilenios of the Spring Sprint, "and it would have been a nice one for the fans, but I have to do what I think is best for the horse."

Lord Nelson can get pretty excited and Condilenios is slightly concerned about shipping to Emerald for the Longacres Mile.

"It doesn't take much to throw him off," he said. "We probably would have gone down last year but I didn't think he was emotionally ready for it. We might take him down about three weeks before the race so he can adjust to his new surroundings."

The 1 1/8-mile B.C. Cup Classic on Aug. 5 could fit into Lord Nelson's schedule, but Condilenios isn't sure if Lord Nelson would run in that race before heading south.

"The money is nice and it's restricted to B.C.-breds, but I don't know if I want to go into the Mile off of a nine-furlong race," he said. "We'll have to wait and see how he's doing and then we'll decide. He's easy to train into a race, so time off between races isn't a major concern."

Yaletown on way back

Yaletown, runnerup in the 1999 B.C. Derby, had his comeback slowed when he developed an infection in his withers following his last race. But his trainer, Jerome Partington, feels he still has a good chance of making it back in time for the $75,000 Lieutenant Governors' on July 1.

"It's healing nicely," said Partington, "but it did set us back a bit. He missed a couple of weeks and we just started him back last Monday. I've never seen anything quite like it. He developed a hole in his withers as big as a couple of toonies [a $2 Canadian coin about the size of a U.S. silver dollar]. Now, it's back to [the size of] a quarter and we can at least give him some exercise."

Yaletown missed all of last year and made his only start of this year earlier in the meet.

New jock getting the business

Given the small fields at Hastings Park this year, it's not easy for a new face in the jockeys' room to get mounts. But Anthony Stephen, 28, has been steadily developing business and has won three races at the meet.

Stephen, from Trinidad, rode in Macau for the past five years. His best season was in 1997-98, when he finished third in the standings with 54 wins from 392 mounts. In all he won 169 races there.

Foreign riders are allowed to ride in Macau on a full-time basis for only five years, and after last season Stephen was looking for another place to ride.

"I had heard about Vancouver from quite a few different people in Macau, and thought that I would give it a try," Stephen said. "It's a beautiful city and the track surface is the best one I've ever ridden on. Another good thing about coming here is that it allows me to ride part-time in Macau over the winter."