07/17/2007 11:00PM

Firster Remarkable Miss does barn proud

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Barb Heads apparently assessed correctly that the 2-year-old filly division at Hastings is a bit stronger than the colts and geldings division right now.

Heads ran fillies in both the Timber Music Stakes for 2-year-old fillies Saturday and in the Ladnesian Stakes open to males on Sunday.

Rosada finished fourth for her in the Timber Music and Remarkable Miss finished second in the Ladnesian.

Alpine Lass won The Timber Music, and her time of 1:17.78 for the 6 1/2 furlongs was almost a full second faster than Call Me Tomorrow's winning time of 1:18.62 in the Ladnesian. Both races were run over a fast track.

"Having two fillies made it an easy decision to split them up," said Heads. "Plus the boys always seem to come up a bit light this time of year."

Heads was especially pleased with Remarkable Miss's race. It was her first start, and after getting away slowly she made a strong move to finish a clear second.

"She's always good in the gate but she doesn't come out very well," said Heads. "I expect that will be her running style because she just doesn't leave there running. Hopefully, it won't be quite as extreme in future races.

"She's a big, blocky filly and it takes a while for her to get her legs underneath her. She's a real pro, though, and it's a real treat to work with her."

Alpine Lass, trained by Toni Cloutier, was a game winner over runner-up Archery in the Timber Music. According to Cloutier's assistant trainer and husband, Mark Cloutier, Alpine Lass is going to need time to recover from her big effort.

"She came back very tired," Mark Cloutier said. "She's going to get a deserved break. It just took a lot out of her."

With Pedro Alvarado aboard, Alpine Lass went right to the front, and after carving out honest fractions held off Archery, who stalked her the whole way and made a strong bid at the quarter pole.

"When she came back to the winners circle her legs were rubbery," said Cloutier. "She laid her body down so much, and you really have to take care of horses that give it their all like she did."

Cloutier wasn't sure if Alpine Lass would be able to make it back for the B.C. Cup Debutante on B.C. Cup Day, Aug. 6.

"We'll just play it by ear," he said. "She's a tough filly and she was bouncing around the shed row Monday, but we're not going to push her for the race."

According to trainer Dino Condilenios, Archery came out of her race in very good shape.

"She's not a B.C.-bred so she's not eligible for the Debutante," he said, adding that she will go next in either a maiden race or the Aug. 25. Lassie.

Ladnesian winner Call Me Tomorrow will likely be a heavy favorite when he runs back in the B.C. Cup Nursery.

"I'm not sure what kind of horses he beat," said his trainer, Troy Taylor. "But at least he's got one stakes win under his belt."

Mario Gutierrez rode Call Me Tomorrow in the Ladnesian, and it appeared he saved a little something for the Nursery.

Royal Sovereign goes Friday

Heads won the 2006 Ladnesian with Royal Sovereign. He will make his first start since then in the seventh race on Friday.

"We gave him a lot of time off because of his injury last year," said Heads, who declined to disclose specifics of the injury. "He's been training well enough, and we're just hoping for a good race from him so we can get an idea of where he fits this year."

Happy 90th, Duane Onstad

Friends of Duane Onstad are holding a birthday party at Hastings for Onstad Friday. Onstad, who turns 90 Friday, was one of the most prominent owners at Hastings in the 1960s and 70s.

He was one of the first around here to make his name as a claiming owner. When he burst on the scene in the early 60s, there was very little claiming going on at Hastings. Onstad changed all that by claiming horses from just about anyone, including friends.

"He was the original claiming owner," said owner-breeder Dan Robb. "He never claimed a horse to pick on someone. It was always about winning races. It didn't matter who they were. If a horse looked like it could run, he was fair game."

Onstad's main trainers were Sid Martin and Alan May.

According to bloodstock agent Dan Kenny, who was the editor of the Vancouver edition of Daily Racing From in the early 70s, Onstad had a particular knack for claiming sprinters and stretching them out.

"You could always get a good price on one of his horses when he ran them back first time because it looked like they were just sprinters," Kenny said. "Duane would usually ride Basil Frasier, who was very good at rating a horse, and he would put them right on the lead. Usually they carried their speed the whole way."

One of the best horses Onstad claimed was Padovani. He claimed him for $32,000 and won more than $150,000 with him. The first horse Onstad claimed was No Misses.

He has a box at Hastings and is there just about every weekend. He makes his own morning line and he seems to be as sharp as ever when it comes to picking out a winner.