10/14/2009 11:00PM

Facing older a minor hurdle for La Rocca


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The 3-year-old filly La Rocca will try to keep her undefeated streak in Western Canada intact when she takes on older fillies and mares in the Grade 3, $125,000 Ballerina at Hastings Saturday. The 1 1/8-mile feature attracted seven horses and goes as the eighth race. The Ballerina is run under weight-for-age conditions. As the only 3-year-old in the race La Rocca, at 120 pounds, will receive three pounds from the rest of the field

Trained by Terry Jordan, La Rocca easily handled 3-year-old fillies at Northlands Park in the $75,000 Sonoma and the $122,000 British Columbia Oaks here Sept. 26. She will be facing much stiffer competition in the Ballerina, but she still looks like the one to beat.

According to Jordan, La Rocca is primed for a big effort. "She won both of her races out here pretty easily and I don't think either race took anything out of her," he said. "They'll know she's in there."

La Rocca has good speed and will likely be sent right to the front by jockey Fernando Perez.

La Rocca won't get too far away from Holy Nova, who heads a three-horse entry trained by Troy Taylor which includes Summer Song and Lady Raj.

Holy Nova has tactical speed. She set slow fractions when she won the 1 1/16-mile Strawberry Morn Handicap Sept. 7. She came back to face males in the 6 1/2-furlong Express Handicap Sept. 27, and finished fifth.

Taylor said track condition will have a lot to do with how Holy Nova and Summer Song run on Saturday.

"Holy Nova loves an off track, and Summer Song seems to be a better horse on a dry track," said Taylor.

Summer Song is coming off a half-length loss to Blue Sky Holiday in the $50,000 Delta Colleen on Sept. 26. She went into the Delta Colleen off of two straight dominating stakes wins at Northlands Park.

Against the Sky, trained by Craig MacPherson, won the Ballerina last year, but she was a much sharper horse going into that race, with five straight wins. In her last two starts this season she finished fifth in the Delta Colleen and third in the Strawberry Morn. Against the Sky's only win at the meet came in the restricted B.C. Cup Distaff Aug. 3.

Blue Sky Holiday does her best running late and could be up against it if La Rocca and Holy Nova set moderate fractions.