09/08/2010 2:40PM

Don'twaitforme establishes himself as favorite for B.C. Derby


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Don’waitforme stamped himself as the favorite for the Grade 3, $150,000 British Columbia Derby on Sept. 26 with a convincing win over Cherokee Notion in the Richmond Derby Trial at Hastings last Monday.

Don’twaitforme went into the Trial as a horse who needed to prove he could get a middle distance and he did it in style, drawing off in the stretch to win by 3 3/4 lengths over favored Cherokee Notion. It was just the second route in his five-race career for trainer Rob VanOverschot. In his first try going around three turns, Don’twaitforme held a short lead at the top of the stretch but tired to finish second behind Cherokee Notion in the B.C. Cup Stellar’s Jay. In the Trial, he was aided by an excellent ride by Amadeo Perez, who was able to coax him through pedestrian fractions of 23.93 and 48.00 seconds over a track that really wasn’t favoring front-runners.

“Amadeo gave him a great ride,” said VanOverschot. “It was nice to see him galloping with his ears pricked the first time by. I didn’t know if he was going to be on the lead but he broke sharply and Amadeo was able to get him to relax beautifully.”

Setting a slow pace and drawing off to win is one thing but it isn’t likely that Don’twaitforme will have the same luxury when he makes his next start in the 1 1/8-mile B.C. Derby.

“He’s only started five times and he’s just starting to learn how to run,” said VanOverschot. “He came from just off the pace in the Stellar’s Jay so I don’t think he needs the lead. Plus I love the way he finished full of run in the Trial so I think he’ll be able to handle the extra distance in the derby. We’ll know more in a week but he seems to have come out of the race in really good shape and he is very pleased with himself.”

Cherokee Notion and Ain, who made a late move to finish third, are both pointing to the B.C. Derby.

Cherokee Notion made what looked like a winning move to get within a half-length of Don’twaitforme at the top of the stretch but hung. He did have an excuse in that he had caught a mild case of colic when he shipped to Edmonton to run in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park on Aug. 21. Because of the colic he didn’t run in the Canadian Derby and also missed a few days of training. His trainer, Troy Taylor, didn’t see it that way.

“No excuses. He just got outrun,” said Taylor.

Ain made a late move to finish a clear third and he should relish the extra distance in the B.C. Derby. Still a maiden, Ain was coming off of a second-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Emerald Downs Derby on Aug. 15. He ran as an uncoupled entry with Crew Leader, who finished eighth. Their trainer, Dino Condilenios, is hoping Crew Leader gets to run in the B.C. Derby. He only has $11,660 in earnings and the only way that will probably happen is if fewer than 12 horses enter.

“I think they are both nice horses but Crew Leader has a quick turn of foot and Ain is more of a plodder,” said Condilenios. “I don’t think he was going to win, but Crew Leader was making a big move when he got stopped at the top of the stretch.”

Perez sidelined while undergoing tests

Leading rider Fernando Perez will not be riding this weekend and it depends on the results from tests he is undergoing at Burnaby General Hospital when he will return. Perez got bounced around leaving the gate in the last race Monday and after having a hard time breathing on Tuesday he went to the hospital. According to his agent, Daryl Snow, they are looking at possible issues with his heart.

“He got hit in the chest pretty hard so it may have bruised his heart,” said Snow. “We really won’t know until they have finished with all the tests they are doing.”

Long-time rider Cuthbertson dies at 63

Jockey Alan Cuthbertson, 63, died from lung cancer last Monday. Cuthbertson started his career in Ontario in 1964 and went on to become one of the top riders in Western Canada. Nicknamed “Ace," Cuthbertson was still riding in top form at the end of his career, winning the rider’s title at Assiniboia Downs three years in a row from 2006 to 2008. At 61, he set a record for the oldest jockey to win a title at a full meet when he won 107 races from 444 races at Assiniboia. He was the leading rider at Hastings – then Exhibition Park – in 1972 with 82 wins.

“He was the best finisher I ever saw ride here,” said Hastings steward Wayne Russell.

Cuthbertson is survived by sons Clayton, Brad, and Cole. Brad acted as Cuthbertson’s agent when he rode at Hastings in 2009. Funeral services are pending.