06/09/2009 11:00PM

Gilker's roll looks likely to continue


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Wednesday morning, trainer Rob Gilker was not only savoring his win with Bank Emblem in the $51,000 John Longden last Saturday, he was also looking forward to running Tommy Danzigger in the $50,000 CTHS Sales Stakes on Sunday.

Gilker had penciled in the Sales Stakes as the first goal for Tommy Danzigger this year. The 1 1/16-mile Sales Stakes is the first middle-distance stakes race for 3-year-olds at Hastings this year, and Tommy Danzigger will go into the race as the only horse in the field with a win at the distance. Last year he came from off the pace to edge Gotta Find Bubba in the $107,000 Ascot Graduation for his only win. He also placed in the 2-year-old version of the CTHS Sales Stakes.

"Last year it was a sprint, so we were pretty happy when we saw the race was a mile and a sixteenth this year," said Gilker. "We have obviously been aiming for it ever since the stakes book came out."

Tommy Danzigger hasn't won sprinting, but he is coming off of a very good second-place finish behind Almost Time in the 6 1/2-furlong Jim Coleman Province on May 9. Gilker likes the way Tommy Danzigger has trained since then.

"He's training very, very well," said Gilker. "It would have been nice to get a second race into him, but the race he could have run in was just a bit too close. He couldn't be doing better, so I expect to see him run a good race."

Gilker also thinks he has a big shot at winning a couple of races on Friday. He has four horses entered and it wouldn't be surprising if all four ended up being favored.

"Friday shapes up pretty good for us," said Gilker. "The horse I like the best is Yoorock Gal."

Yoorock Gal, who has won four races for earnings of $108,767, figures to be either the first or second choice in the seventh race. She has good speed and could be long gone if she breaks on top. She broke in the air in her first start this year, and she is dropping into an easier spot on Friday.

"She's been an unlucky horse," said Gilker. "She has a severe overbite and because of it her mouth is very sensitive. I am sure that's why she broke poorly last time. Hopefully she'll leave there running on Friday."

With Frank Fuentes aboard, Bank Emblem certainly left the starting gate in a hurry in the Longden. What was surprising was that the speedy Seminole Brave was taken off the pace. After Gilker saw the first couple of splits, he knew Bank Emblem was going to be tough to beat. Gilker also didn't mind the fact that True Metropolitan was a late scratch out of the race.

"I'm sure True Met would have put a lot more pressure on him," said Gilker. "I was pretty happy when I saw the 24 first quarter posted. I was elated when they let him go the half in 48."

Gilker thought both Fuentes and Pedro Alvarado, who was aboard Spaghetti Mouse, rode strategically smart races. Spaghetti Mouse stalked Bank Emblem for the first part of the race, and the two of them raced as a team from the quarter-pole home, with Bank Emblem holding off Spaghetti Mouse to win by a neck.

"Pedro could have gone after my horse earlier, and they probably would have set it up for someone else," said Gilker. "It turned out to be a spectacular race for the fans to watch. Of course, I certainly enjoyed it."

Cindy Krasner was one of the few that didn't appreciate the thrilling stretch duel. She trains Krazy Koffee, a deep closer who was the odds-on favorite. She knew his goose was cooked when she saw the slow fractions.

"I knew he was in trouble when he was just five lengths off of the early pace," said Krasner. "Other than being a bit frustrated, he came out of the race fine, and we'll move on to the Lieutenant Governors."

Spaghetti Mouse and Bank Emblem will also be pointed to the $100,000 Lieutenant Governors on July 1.

Wind Storm to focus on sprints

Trainer Dave Forster said before the Brighouse Belles that Wind Storm was coming up to a big race. He was right on the money, as she cruised to an easy 6 1/4-length win over Blue Sky Holiday last Sunday. Forster said that he is going to try and keep Wind Storm sprinting for the rest of the year.

"I have seen the light," said Forster. "We have tried her long a few times, and it just hasn't worked out."

Wind Storm has now won seven races for earnings of $156,402. The Brighouse Belles was her first stakes win, and she earned a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 91. She was ridden by Richard Hamel.

Holy Nova was heavily favored going into the race, but Wind Storm ended up the choice when Holy Nova reared at the start and was eliminated from the race. Because she got tangled up with an assistant starter and never actually got out of the gate, she was declared a non-starter by stewards.

"She's fine," said her trainer, Troy Taylor. "Luckily she didn't panic. Otherwise, she might have really hurt herself."

Holy Nova's rider, Mario Gutierrez, escaped unscathed.