08/25/2009 11:00PM

Fair poses problems for horse population

Four-Footed Fotos
Almost Time is being pointed to a start in the B.C. Derby on Sept. 27.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Some things never change. The annual fair put on by the PNE started last weekend, and it is still impossible to walk by the mini-donut stand without grabbing a couple of bags. The idea is to eat the contents of one bag and take the other one back to Hastings, which is located on the fairgrounds, for someone else to enjoy. By the time you are halfway back to the track, you realize you are already into the second bag, so you might as well finish the donuts off.

Minor inconveniences like gaining weight or trying to find a parking space - more than 1 million people will visit the fair which ends on Labor Day - don't compare to the unusual stress put on the horses stabled at Hastings. Firework displays, loud music, and rides located right next to the stabling area can cause serious problems for horses accustomed to more peaceful surroundings.

As usual, at least one horse stabled at Hastings has suffered some kind of injury related to the activities at the fair. Trainer Barbara Heads was planning on running Borgatello in the $75,000 Sonoma Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Northlands Park last Sunday, but skipped the race when Borgatello injured herself in her stall.

"It was a minor injury," Heads said. "I think it was caused by the fireworks. A horse a few stalls down from her got his legs hung up in the screen. When he started to thrash, it spooked Borgatello and she jumped around and must have hurt herself. It's a new way of life for the horses when the fair comes around. They are always getting stirred up by one thing or another, and it's not easy on them."

Condilenios eyeing lucrative stakes

There is some good news about the annual event: It signals the beginning of the best racing at Hastings. Headed by the Grade 3, $250,000 B.C. Derby on Sept. 27, there are eight stakes races worth $100,000 or more at the meet, which concludes Nov. 8. To kick off the championship season, Hastings has scheduled five stake races on Sept. 7.

Heading the list is the $50,000 S.W. Randall Plate where Teide figures to be favored. Trained by Dino Condilenios, Teide is coming off of a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 16. He won the $101,000 Lieutenant Governors here in his previous start.

"Everything is good with him right now," Condilenios said. "As long as the weights are fair, we're going to run him in the Randall."

Condilenios also said that Almost Time, who finished last in the $300,000 Canadian Derby last Saturday, is being pointed to the B.C. Derby.

"We probably shouldn't have run him," Condilenios said. "He seemed fine but he came down with a slight fever when he arrived there and obviously he just wasn't himself. He came out of the race okay, though."

Condilenios is hoping that Noble Lad will be good enough to run in some of the upcoming stakes. Noble Lad is entered in a classified allowance race with a $25,000 claiming option Friday. Purchased by the Darley Stable as a 2-year-old for $1.4 million, Noble Lad was part of a package of nine horses bought by Swift Thoroughbreds Inc. last spring. Teide also was part of the package. Noble Lad started four times for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. In his last two starts, he won a maiden special weight race by 7 1/2 lengths at Laurel on Jan. 19 and followed that up with a third-place finish in a $35,000 optional race over the inner track at Aqueduct on Feb. 20.

"He came with the original package this spring but he had a few problems, so it's taken us a while to get him to the races," Condilenios said. "He can run a bit, though, and he's been training nicely. I would have preferred to run him in a straight nonwinners-of-two, but they haven't been filling lately."

Spaghetti Mouse gets back to work

Spaghetti Mouse had his first work since he was scratched during the post parade due to a stone bruise in the Lieutenant Governors. He worked a bullet four furlongs in 46.80 seconds with his usual rider Pedro Alvarado aboard Wednesday morning.

"It was a good work for him," trainer Lenore Daponte said. "He has trained well since he got back to work and he should be in good shape to run in the Randall."

Spaghetti Mouse edged Rosberg in the Randall last year. He is the all-time leading money earner among B.C.-breds, with $872,244 in earnings.