08/23/2011 9:55AM

Feature has B.C. Derby implications


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Tlaquepaque, Stormy Canuck, Tarue Grit, and Fransor’s Finest are all outsiders looking in when it comes to the Grade 3, $200,000 British Columbia Derby, which will be run at Hastings on Sept. 11. Nonetheless, they are all nominated, and a breakout performance in an optional $50,000 claiming race Wednesday could convince their connections to take a shot at the richest race in B.C.

The 1 1/16-mile feature drew six horses and appears to be a wide-open event. Post time for the first race is 3:20 p.m. Pacific.
Tlaquepaque found the water too deep when he ran in the Richmond Derby Trial on Aug. 14, but he fits nicely with this group. Trained by Jodie Rawson, Tlaquepaque stalked the pace before fading to sixth in the Derby Trial. He was coming off a second-place finish in an optional $75,000 claiming race going 1 1/16 miles July 23, and it was the first time this Kentucky-bred son of Suave tried a middle distance. Tlaquepaque is the only horse in the field with more than a single win, and one of his three scores came in the $50,000 New Westminster as a 2-year-old last year.

Isaias Cardenas rides Tlaquepaque.

Stormy Canuck ran a huge race to finish third in the B.C. Cup Stellar’s Jay but then may have bounced when he came back to finish last in the Richmond Derby Trial. It is also possible he didn’t like being taken off the pace. Trained by Toni Cloutier, Stormy Canuck looks like the one they have to run down. He set quick fractions in the Stellar’s Jay and it appeared he didn’t like being rated in the Derby Trial. Expect Pedro Alvarado to gun him to the lead and it wouldn’t be surprising if he took them the whole way.

Tarue Grit, trained by Terry Dubois, finished a nose behind Tlaquepaque on July 23 and has to be considered a serious threat.
Trainer Blaine Wright shipped Rocky’s Quest from Emerald Downs to win an optional $30,000 maiden claiming race going 1 1/16 miles with Pedro Alvarado aboard July 30. Leading rider Mario Gutierrez picks up the mount.

Gentle Joe is moving up in class and trying a middle distance for the first time after finishing second to Mr. Collaborator in a $25,000 claiming sprint on Aug. 14.

Fransor’s Finest is back with his own age group after finishing third to the 4-year-old stakes winner Silly Fella in a first-level allowance race for 3-year-olds and up July 30.