05/20/2010 11:00PM

Harwood hopes for another good road trip


VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Emerald Downs-based trainer Doris Harwood is making her second trip to Hastings on Monday. If it goes as well as her first trip here, she will be getting her picture taken with Knight Raider in the $50,000 Emerald Downs for 3-year-old fillies.

Last year, Harwood shipped Winning Machine and Noosa Beach to Hastings to run in the Grade 3, $275,000 British Columbia Derby, and they took home a large share of the purse by finishing first and third.

"That was pretty nice," Harwood said. "Hopefully we'll have as much luck with Knight Raider."

Knight Raider carried her speed to three straight stakes wins at Emerald last year. In Knight Raider's first start this year, Harwood took the blinkers off and the filly ran a different type of race in the $50,000 Federal Way. Coming from off the pace with Ricky Frazier aboard, Knight Raider made a strong move to catch Feeling Fancy at the top of the stretch and then held on to finish a clear second. Feeling Fancy was coming off of an 8 3/4-length win in a first-level allowance race and was also carrying five pounds less than Knight Raider.

"She's fast if we want her to be," Harwood said. "We were playing catch-up in the Federal Way. Nobody wanted to run against her and she was facing horses that had been running. The whole program at Emerald is to get them to stretch out and Ricky swears she's a better horse going long without the blinkers."

Frazier was aboard for Knight Raider's five-furlong breeze in 1:03.40 on Thursday morning.

"He was very pleased with the work," Harwood said.

Harwood had a tremendous season at Emerald last year, winning 59 races from 251 starts, good for second place in the trainer standings. She has gotten off to a relatively slow start this year with 5 wins from her first 47 starters. Her humor hasn't changed, though.

"If you lost your mind about all of this you wouldn't know what to do," she said. "I don't have the same kind of stock as last year and you have to be realistic about things. My babies are coming along now and it looks like we have a few that can run. I am doing the same things I did last year and I don't know why it would be right then and wrong now."

Winning Machine and Noosa Beach are still running well for Harwood. They were first and second in the $50,000 Seattle Handicap last Sunday with Noosa Beach holding off Winning Machine by a length.

"That was a nice race for everyone in the barn," Harwood said.

Noosa Beach also beat his stablemate in a classified allowance race on April 18. Harwood wasn't sure if the two horses will make a return to trip to Hastings.

"They are both being pointed to the Longacres Mile and we might come up there again if it seems like the right way to go to have them ready for the Mile," Harwood said.

Heads takes two shots in stakes

Like Harwood at Emerald, trainer Barbara Heads is off to a slow start at Hastings this year. Heads is still looking for her first win after 17 starts. Last year, she finished second in the standings with 39 wins. She also won the Grade 3 Premiers with Trick of the North. She has two stakes winners entered in the Emerald Downs, Vying Ty Grr and Ebony N Ice.

Vying Ty Grr, who won the $106,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity and the $54,000 B.C. Cup Debutante in 2009, chased a fast pace and tired to finish last in her first start this year. Ebony N Ice also won a $100,000 race, the 1 1/16-mile Fantasy.

"They are both doing well," Heads said. "Vying Ty Grr is a funny horse and she came back with a nice work. She's a funny filly and you never know what she has on her mind. Ebony N Ice is all about going long. We're just entertaining her until she stretches out."

Ebony N Ice should get her first chance at a middle distance in the Supernaturel on July 1.

Heads is pleased with the way Trick of the North came back from a winter vacation at the Pegasus Training and Equine Rehabilitation Center in Redmond, Wash.

"He spent the winter at the spa," she said. "It's a great place to leg up."

Trick of the North seemed to age like fine wine last year. As an 8-year-old, he won six races. As well as winning the Premiers, he also finished a close third in the B.C. Cup Classic.

"Obviously, the longer the better," said Heads. "We'll probably sprint him once and then go from there. He's an old man, so you have to look after him a bit."

As to the slow start at the current meet.

"I had such an exceptional season last year so it is a bit disappointing," said Heads. "I'm not too worried about it. I'm sure things will turn around soon. Maybe in the Emerald Downs."