10/23/2008 11:00PM

Gotta Find Bubba bred for Ascot distance


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - A win by Almost Time or El Sinaloense in the $100,000 Ascot Graduation at Hastings on Sunday would likely wrap up local juvenile honors.

Gotta Find Bubba, meanwhile, hasn't done enough to be voted the top 2-year-old colt or gelding in British Columbia - but he has a good chance of winning the Ascot Graduation.

Trained by Steve Henson, Gotta Find Bubba is coming off of a second-place finish behind Almost Time in the $106,000 Jack Diamond Futurity, and his breeding points to him as the most likely winner of the 1 1/16-mile Ascot.

His dam, La Belle Creole, didn't win any of her three starts but she did place in one of two tries at a middle distance. She has produced two multiple route stakes winners, and one of them, Suva, is a full-sister to Gotta Find Bubba. Henson also trained Suva. One of her stakes wins was in the Fantasy, which is the filly equivalent to the Ascot Graduation.

Gotta Find Bubba also appears to be peaking. Despite his third-place finish in the CTHS Sales Stakes he was overlooked at 58-1 in the 6 1/2-furlong Jack Diamond Futurity. He made the lead at the quarter pole, then couldn't hold off a late move by Almost Time. Henson is hoping is jockey Chad Hoverson will be able to get him to relax a little more on Sunday.

"I didn't want him that close to the pace, but he was just too sharp," said Henson. "He was pretty eager when he worked a half-mile in 47 the other day, so I am a little concerned about how sharp he is coming into the Ascot."

Henson is excited about what type of 3-year-old Gotta Find Bubba could turn into next year.

"I really think he is going to develop into a very nice 3-year-old," he said. "He's still maturing, and by next year he could be a real racehorse. Hey, don't discount the chances of my other horse."

He was referring to Millwright, who has shown a lot of ability in both of his races. He was a game winner over Almost Time in his debut in a maiden special weight race on Aug. 23. In his second start he finished third behind his stablemate in the Jack Diamond. He was on the rail in the Jack Diamond, which might not have been the best place to be.

"I don't know if he's experienced enough but he's a pretty nice horse," said Henson.

Millwright, owned by Whieldon Thoroughbreds, will run as a separate betting interest from Gotta Find Bubba.

Henson wouldn't say whether he caught the $2,113.60 triactor in the Jack Diamond. "Let's just say it was a good day, and hopefully they'll both run a good race on Sunday," he said.

El Sinaloense hard to gauge

The big question in the Ascot is El Sinaloense. After reeling off four dominating stakes wins he faded to finish seventh in the Jack Diamond.

He drew an inside post for the Ascot, and if he breaks alertly he could be tough to catch.

His trainer and owner Juan Olmos thinks he'll rebound with his usual race on Sunday.

"He had an infection in his skin and maybe the stuff we were treating him for it took something out of him," said Olmos. "When he came back after the race it seemed like he wasn't tired and you wouldn't have known he had been in a race."

He hopes the good El Sinaloense shows up Sunday. "I don't really know why he ran so poorly," he said. "He is a very sound horse, and right now he is training great. We aren't treating him for anything and, hopefully, he'll run his race."

Rosberg to Woodbine?

Trainer Dino Condilenios is considering sending Rosberg to Woodbine to run in the $150,000 Grade 2 Autumn Handicap on Nov. 9. Rosberg is coming off of an upset win in the Grade 3 Premiers.

"He just keeps getting better, and if there aren't any real bears nominated to the race we're probably going to take him out there," said Condilenios. "He seems to have improved quite a bit following the Premiers. We'll work him next weekend, and if all goes well I'm sure we'll run him at Woodbine."

Calgary man tops handicappers

Albert Wong of Calgary, Alberta, took home $12,150 for winning the Hastings qualifying tournament to the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association handicapping that will be held in Las Vegas in January.

Along with the prize money, Wong earned an all-expenses paid trip to the national contest.

Also earning a trip to Las Vegas were Sylvia Christensen and Ken Bell, who finished second and thirdy. Joining them will be Alan Harrison, who won a nine-week DRF sponsored contest that ended on Oct. 17.