09/17/2010 4:10PM

Dozen expected for B.C. Derby

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – A full field of 12 is expected to start in the Grade 3, $150,000 British Columbia Derby at Hastings next Sunday. The 1 1/8-mile B.C. Derby headlines a weekend that features eight stakes races.

The $75,000 B.C. Oaks tops the Saturday day card that will have four stakes for females: the 1 1/8-mile Delta Coleen for fillies and mares; $50,000 Fantasy for 2-year-old fillies stretching out to a 1 1/16 miles, and the Derby Bar and Grill Ladies Express for fillies and mares going six furlongs.

Supporting the B.C. Derby will be the 1 1/8-mile Sir Winston Churchill for 3-year-olds and up, the 1 1/16-mile $50,000 Ascot Graduation for 2-year-olds, and the six-furlong Derby Bar and Grill Express for 3-year-olds and up.

The Delta Collen, Sir Winston Churchill, and the two Derby Bar and Grill sprints are worth $25,000.

The B.C. Derby is traditionally the most important race at Hastings, and owner Glen Todd is going all out to try and win his first derby. He owns a large share of three of the horses who are going to be entered, including the possible favorite, Cherokee Notion. Prince Intent is guaranteed to get into the race, and Clear to Canada is on the bubble but will probably get in, depending on how many of the 22 horses nominated enter. All three horses are trained by Troy Taylor.

Cherokee Notion finished second to Don’twaitforme in the Richmond Derby Trial with leading rider Fernando Perez aboard. With Perez out for the rest of the season because of a blood clot, Todd had to find a new rider. Also, according to Todd, the barn’s main rider, Mario Gutierrez, just “doesn’t like the horse.” The derby looks like a wide-open race, and Cherokee Notion will likely be favored because the jockey Todd is bringing in to ride is Russell Baze. Baze has won more than 11,000 races in his Hall of Fame career, and he will certainly influence the wagering on the race. Baze won’t need a work permit to ride at Hastings because he was born in Vancouver in 1958.

“Obviously we’re extremely happy to have a rider of his caliber riding for us,” said Todd.

Taylor thinks that Cherokee Notion has the best chance of his three possible starters. Cherokee Notion also figures to move forward in the derby off of his solid second in the Derby Trial. He was supposed to run in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park on Aug. 21, but after shipping to Edmonton he came down with a mild case of colic. In one sense Cherokee Notion may have been lucky to have missed the race, because it was marred by a three-horse spill that involved his stablemate Dyna Stroll. Dyna Stroll was nominated to the derby but hasn’t fully recovered from the spill and is being turned out for the year. Before finishing second in the Derby Trial, Cherokee Notion beat Don’twaitforme by a one and three-quarter lengths in the B.C. Cup Stellar’s Jay Aug. 2.

“Cherokee Notion came out of trial in great shape and I really like the way he is coming up to the race,” said Taylor. “If I had to go with just one horse he would be it.”

Overvalued works for Fantasy

Overvalued tuned up for the Fantasy with an easy five-furlong move over a sloppy track in 1:01 flat with former jockey Chris Loseth aboard Friday morning. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.20.

Overvalued is coming off of a seven-length romp in the $51,000 Lassie Aug. 26 and will be a heavy favorite when she stretches out to 1 1/16 miles for the first time in the Fantasy. She is trained by Loseth’s wife, Tracy McCarthy.

“Chris was pleased with the work and said she felt great,” said McCarthy. “We haven’t pulled out all the stops with her because she’s been fighting shins. We’ll keep working on her, and hopefully she’ll stay healthy and get to run. If not, we’ll just wait and have a very nice filly for next year.”

Douglas joins Hall

The media director at Hastings, Greg Douglas, was inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night. Douglas, who is well known as “Dr. Sport,” entered the Hall of Fame under the media category. At 18, he began his career in journalism as the sports editor of the Daily Star in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. In 1968 he became the public relations director for the Vancouver Canucks and was the assistant general manager when he left the Canucks in 1977 to form his own sports marketing and communications company. He has been with Hastings since 2004.

“When I look at the list of people that I am joining in the Hall of Fame, I feel not only honored but also humbled,” said Douglas.

Douglas, whose first job in Vancouver was covering the Vancouver Canadians baseball team, is also a member of the Vancouver Canadians’ Broadcast and Journalism Hall of Fame.