05/22/2003 11:00PM

Gamblin Caper aims for Klondike - then bigger things


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - One of the reasons Terry Jordan won with over half of his starters last year is that he always is looking for the easiest possible spot for his horses. Rarely are his horses longer than 2-1 and if they are, well, caution is advised.

When Jordan entered Gamblin Caper in a $50,000 optional race May 17, the race came up just the way he likes it. Jordan appeared to have the best horse in the race and Gamblin Caper figured to control the pace from start to finish. Bet down to 1-2, Gamblin Caper won, but it wasn't all that easy. He was hooked early by Prince Georgi and they set blistering fractions before Gamblin Caper drew off to win by 3 1/2 lengths over a late charging Seldom Free.

"That was a very good race for him," said Jordan. "I didn't think they would go that fast early but it's nice to know he can look another horse in the eye and keep going."

Gamblin Caper will tackle a tougher group of horses when he runs in the $40,000 Klondike Stakes next Saturday, and then he is scheduled to run at Stampede Park in the $100,000 Alberta Derby June 14.

Last year, Rob VanOverschot sent Lord Shogun out to the prairies and he won both the Alberta and Manitoba derbies over some pretty weak competition. His highest Beyer Figure for the two races was 78. Compare that to the 86 Shacane earned for his win here in the Jim Coleman Province and the 85 Cruising Kat put up in the B.C. Derby. The move by VanOverschot didn't go unnoticed by Jordan.

"It was a good move," said Jordan. "They're giving away pretty good money out there, and I think my horse is good enough to get some of it."

Gamblin Caper also has the same front-running style as Lord Shogun, and while Gamblin Caper was impressive in his first sprint at Hastings, his best race was when he won a $25,000 claiming race at Santa Anita by nine lengths Feb. 17. He shouldn't have any trouble stretching out to 1 1/16 miles when he goes around three turns in the Alberta Derby.

"I'm not worried about him getting the distance, I just hope he makes it past Revelstoke this time," said Jordan, referring to Gamblin Caper being stopped by a snowstorm halfway to Calgary. At the time, he was headed to Stampede Park to run in the President's Handicap May 10.

Lacoursiere's back in style

Jockey Larry Lacoursiere hadn't ridden here since 1999 but he's off to a good start in his comeback, having won six races from 33 starts. Lacoursiere was injured mid-season in 1999 and missed the rest of the year. In the winter he shipped out to Macau, where he enjoyed his stay but found it difficult to adjust to the culture, particularly the different language.

"I'm glad I went. Going to different places is always interesting," he said. "But just going to the corner store and trying to get what you want was difficult."

Riding in a clockwise direction also presented a challenge to Lacoursiere.

"It took a little bit to adapt to, and not being able to read their racing form didn't help," he said. "They also send a lot harder right out of the gate. But if you work hard you can make a good living. Especially if you can get in with a reputable stable."

Lacoursiere also made a stop in Mauritius, an island off the coast of Africa where they've been racing at Le Champ De Mars since 1812.

"The money isn't as good but it's a tropical paradise and it's just incredibly beautiful," said Lacoursiere.

One of the reasons for his fast start is that he's hooked up with the powerful Dave Forster barn. Lacoursiere helped Forster out when Forster's main exercise rider, Dan Brock, was sidelined with an injury this spring, and he's made the most of the opportunity.

"He's become a much more confident and relaxed rider," said Forster. "Before he left he could get pretty tense, but now he's a lot more settled and it shows in his riding."

"It doesn't hurt to be getting on the kind of horses Forster has," said Lacoursiere.