10/23/2003 11:00PM

Condilenios leads surging Barroby down the stretch


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - With just over a month to go in the Hastings meet, the trainer's race has suddenly heated up. A few weeks ago it looked like Dino Condilenios had a lock on his first training title, but a late surge by perennial leading trainer Harold Barroby has turned the trainer's race into a horse race. Condilenios has won 30 races, four more than Barroby, and he thinks he has the ammo to hold on to the top spot.

"I still have a lot of horses left, so I should be able to win my share of races," he said. "I've never been this close before so it would be nice to win the title. It's not the be all to end all, but I would be lying if I said it wasn't important to me."

Condilenios appears to have a big career in front of him. He's just 32, and with clients like Jeff Sengara and leading breeders Russell and Lois Bennett, Condilenios should have a steady supply of quality horses in the future.

"Jeff is the one that kick-started me," said Condilenios. "Swift Thoroughbred is also one of my main clients. We've been going back to Kentucky to buy yearlings and they're steadily building up a strong stable. We're planning on going again this year."

With no stakes races left at the meet, Condilenios has turned out his best horse, Lord Nelson.

In order to keep some of the better horses around until the meet closes Nov. 30, Hastings has traditionally offered allowance races for horses who haven't won a stakes this year. Condilenios is pointing Celt to the 1 1/16-mile Autumn Leaves on Nov. 2. Celt has been one of the best sprinters at Hastings all year, and finished second in both the B.C. Cup Sprint and the Hastings Speed. Celt tired badly the only time he went beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, in a $15,000 non-winners of two allowance, as a 3-year-old last year. That was the race from which Condilenios claimed him for his owners, Neal and Jean Sullivan.

"If he's doing okay I'll try and stretch him out," Condilenios said of Celt. "He got stepped on coming out of the gate in his last start and he came back with a chunk missing out of his ankle. It all depends on how he recovers."

The incident at the gate didn't prevent Celt from winning his fourth race of the year, but it did prevent a rematch with Kalfaari, who beat Celt in the Hastings Speed. Kalfaari will be heavily favored in an allowance race Sunday.

Barroby: 'Lack of opportunities'

Barroby will turn 59 this Sunday, and while winning the training title would be a big thing for Condilenios, Barroby wasn't that concerned about it. It's not surprising; after all, he's been the leading trainer at Hastings for a record 10 times and topped the list the last two years.

"I'm more concerned about the lack of opportunities we have to run our horses," said Barroby. "I've done okay with the kind of horses I have but everyone's struggling. The only ones that have done any good are Tom Longstaff with Dancewithavixen and John Snow with Roscoe Pito. We just don't have enough races to run in."

Dancewithavixen done for year

With seven stakes wins, including one over older mares in the Grade 3 Ballerina Breeders' Cup, Dancewithavixen looks like the leading candidate for the 3-year-old filly Sovereign Award. Dancewithavixen's owner and trainer, Tom Longstaff, nominated her to the Jammed Lovely Stakes at Woodbine on Nov. 2, but he has decided to turn her out instead.

"She's done enough and it's a long and expensive ship for one race," said Longstaff, who is at Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup. "I'll either turn her out and send her to a training center in California."

Bryant suspended

Steve Bryant was the leading trainer in 2000 and was making a late run at Condilenios this year. But Bryant was suspended for failing to provide a urine sample requested by the stewards. According to the ruling, he'll "remain suspended until he submits a urine sample which does not result in a reported positive."