09/13/2006 11:00PM

Field of 12 shaping up for British Columbia Derby


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - A full field of 12 3-year-olds will start in the Grade 3, $250,000 British Columbia Derby next Sunday. With a full field, the purse for the derby will be over $300,000.

A total of 24 horses were nominated, headed by Brother Derek and Point Determined. But neither horse will likely make the trip here from California.

According to owner Cecil Peacock, Brother Derek will make one start in Southern California before heading to Churchill Downs for the Breeders' Cup. Point Determined is a possibility for the B.C. Derby but his trainer, Bob Baffert, said that he is leaning toward starting Point Determined in the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs instead.

"Never say never, but right now we're leaning towards Louisiana," he said. "You never know, though."

Confirmed from out of town are Woodbine-based Head Chopper and Ok Nothanksforaskn.

"We're planning on flying out together next Wednesday or Thursday," said Steve Owens, who trains Head Chopper.

Head Chopper will likely be one of the favorites. He is coming off a second-place finish to Barbeau Ruckus in the Elgin Stakes at Woodbine Sept. 4. Barbeau Ruckus, a 7-year-old gelding, is a multiple stakes winner with earnings of over $1.1 million.

"Because he's not Ontario-sired, he's had to run against older horses in most of his starts this year," Owens said of Head Chopper.

In his only other race with stakes horses, Head Chopper finished third on the turf in the $150,000 Toronto Cup on July 15.

Justin Stein has committed to ride Head Chopper in the derby. Stein, who set a record for wins by an apprentice (148) at Hastings last year, is second in the standings at Woodbine. The leading rider at Woodbine, Emma-Jayne Wilson,

is coming out to ride Ok Nothanksforaskn.

In his last start, Ok Nothanksforaskn dead-heated for first with Breeders' Stakes winner Royal Challenger in an allowance race at Woodbine Sept. 8. He is trained by Lorne Richards.

According to trainer Doug O'Neill, there is an outside chance Gimme S'mor will run in the derby. O'Neill claimed Gimme S'mor for $62,500 Aug. 12, and in his first start for O'Neill he finished second in the Derby Trial at Fairplex Sept. 11.

"I'm not sure if he's a good enough horse to win a $300,000 race," O'Neill said. "But if it looks like he would be one of the favorites, we might come up."

Considering that Gimme S'mor has the best last-race Beyer Speed Figure among the potential starters, and that he ran well at Fairplex, a similar-sized track to Hastings, he would certainly be one of the favorites if O'Neill chooses to make the trip.

Raise the Bluff is reportedly coming up from Emerald. A colt by Pine Bluff, Raise the Bluff won the Emerald Downs Breeders' Cup Derby Sept. 4. He is trained by Junior Coffey.

There are no standouts in the local 3-year-old division. There have been six stakes for horses in the division at this meet - and six different winners.

Seven Secrets looked good winning the Richmond Derby Trial from slightly off the pace and then came back to work five furlongs in an impressive 58.40 seconds Monday morning. He is trained by Harold Barroby. Seven Secrets will be coupled with Ok Nothanksforaskn because they are both owned by K.K. Sangara. Barroby is also planning on starting Mighty Cahill, who finished third in the Canadian Derby in his last start. He also worked five furlongs in 58.40 Monday, but didn't finish or gallop out as strongly as Seven Secrets did.

Trainer Dino Condilenios is planning on entering The Visualiser. A colt by Giant's Causeway, The Visualiser appears to be peaking at just the right time. In his last start he set the pace and then held off Mighty Cahill to finish second in the Canadian Derby.

Excited Miss noticeably absent

Nominations also closed for the Grade 3, $150,000 B.C. Breeders' Cup Oaks, which will be run next Saturday. Noticeably absent from the list is Excited Miss.

Trained by Barb Heads, Excited Miss has dominated the local 3-year-old filly division this year, but recently injured herself and is out for the rest of the year.

"It's nothing major but it's going to cause her to miss the Oaks, so we're just going to turn her out and bring her back next year," said Heads. "She's been pretty good to us, so although it's possible, we aren't going to push her to make the Ballerina."

The Grade 3 Ballerina Breeders' Cup will be run on Oct. 14.

Monashee running a temperature

Monashee, who was assigned 128 pounds for the $50,000 Delta Colleen Saturday but won't be running, may also miss the Ballerina. Trained by Tracy McCarthy, Monashee has won all the middle-distance stakes at Hastings this year. In her latest start she carried 125 pounds en route to victory in the City of Edmonton Distaff at Northlands Park Aug. 27.

"She came back from Alberta with a temperature and she just hasn't shaken it off yet," said Mike Marsh, McCarthy's assistant trainer. "She's perfectly sound, but until her temperature comes back to normal we're going to keep her out of training."