09/05/2013 2:42PM

Hastings: Arabella’s Muse aims to back up dazzling debut in Sadie Diamond Futurity


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The Grade 3, $150,000 British Columbia Derby is clearly the highlight of the card at Hastings on Sunday, but there will be a lot of interest when Arabella’s Muse makes her second start, in the $100,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity, one of the five supporting stakes on the 10-race program.

Arabella’s Muse was certainly no secret when she made her debut in a $30,000 optional maiden-claiming race Aug. 10. After all, she had worked five furlongs in 58 seconds Aug. 4, and you just don’t see 2-year-old fillies that have never started work that fast at Hastings. What was surprising about her debut was that she went off at what has to be considered an overlay at 9-5. When it was all said and done, she romped by 13 1/2 lengths, and the only time jockey Frank Fuentes appeared to ask her to run in the 6 1/2-furlong race was inside the sixteenth pole when he just wanted to keep her focused. She posted a very fast final time of 1:16.43, and the only complaint about her performance was that she was getting out on both turns.

Trainer Toni Cloutier was not too concerned about how she handled the turns, however.

“I think it was because Frank was taking a bit of a hold of her and she may have been fighting him a bit,” Cloutier said. “She’s just a little green.”

Arabella’s Muse has a right to be a good one. She is the first foal out of Excited Miss, who won 6 of 8 career starts, including five stakes. She was retired after injuring a tendon in her win in the Hong Kong Jockey Club for 3-year-old fillies. Excited Miss is a full sister to last year’s Sadie Diamond Futurity winner, I Want to Dust, who is running in the $100,000 B.C. Oaks on Sunday.

There are plenty of reasons to get excited about Arabella’s Muse, but owner-breeder Leif Nordahl is taking it all in stride. Nordahl is the president of the local Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society. His daughter, Dr. Karen Nordahl, is the breeder and owner of Arabella’s Muse.

“Karen is pretty excited about it all, but I’ve been there and done that,” Nordahl said. “We’ll find out Sunday if she is for real or just a flash in the pan.”

Nordahl might be downplaying the excitement Arabella’s Muse is generating, but he thought she might have a bright future when saw her work the fast five furlongs prior to her debut.

“She broke off about 10 lengths behind a horse that was working in front of her, and I thought she had a chance to be something special when she took off after the horse and blew by it,” he said. “I don’t think the clockers believed the time, but it was real.”

Cloutier thought Arabella’s Muse might be a good one when she worked a half-mile in 50.60 seconds in just her third work June 9.

“She didn’t go that fast, but she did it so easily, and Fernando Perez, who was riding the horse she worked with, came back and said he wanted to ride her instead,” Cloutier said.

Perez moved his tack to Northlands, however, and Fuentes picked up the mount.

Cloutier is certainly excited about the Sadie Diamond Futurity. Her only other win in a Futurity came in the Jack Diamond Futurity with Ookashada in 2006.

“He was a maiden, so it was nice to break his maiden in a $100,000 race,” Cloutier said.

Cloutier was pleased with how Arabella’s Muse breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:03.20 over a sloppy track Aug. 29.

“We just wanted to slow her down, and it was perfect,” Cloutier said. “She’s very sound and I know there are some nice fillies in the race, but I am looking forward to seeing her run again.”

In his capacity as president of the CTHS, Nordahl pointed out that Hip No. 29 in the upcoming CTHS yearling and mixed sale is a full brother to Excited Miss. There are 117 yearlings being offered at the sale, which is being held at the Thunderbird Show Park in Langley on Tuesday.

Nordahl said there has been a change in the way the CTHS is giving away $60,000 worth of credits to potential buyers. Originally, the credits were going to be given to people who had bought horses. Now, anyone who registers for the sale and receives a bidding paddle is eligible to receive a $10,000 credit. The first three credits will be given away before the sale begins, and three more will be drawn after the first 60 horses have gone through the ring.

B.C. Derby draws field of 10

Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 British Columbia Derby drew 10 horses and headlines a program of six stakes totaling $550,000 in purses.

Reporting Star, second behind Broadway Empire in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby in his most recent start, has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite over his stablemate Bluegrass Pride, who is 7-2. Bluegrass Pride is coming off a win in the $50,000 Richmond Derby Trial on Aug. 18. Reporting Star drew post 6, and Bluegrass Pride has post 7. Both horses are trained by Craig MacPherson, who won his first B.C. Derby last year with Second City.