09/06/2013 1:32PM

Hastings: B.C. Derby runs through MacPherson duo

Four Footed Fotos
Bluegrass Pride (above) and Reporting Star both give trainer Craig MacPherson a shot at winning the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – There is an excellent chance trainer Craig MacPherson will win his second straight Grade 3, $150,000 British Columbia Derby at Hastings on Sunday. Last year, he won his first B.C. Derby with Second City. This year, he’ll saddle the 5-2 morning-line favorite Reporting Star and the 7-2 second choice Bluegrass Pride.

The 1 1/8-mile race drew 10 horses, and all carry 126 pounds. The derby headlines a 10-race card that includes five supporting stakes, most notably the $100,000 British Columbia Oaks. MacPherson also has a big shot of winning the Oaks with Miss Derek, who is the top 3-year-old filly at Hastings.

“It could be a big day, but I’m not taking anything for granted,” MacPherson said.

The B.C. Derby goes as the ninth race, immediately following the Oaks. Post time for the first race is 12:50 p.m. Pacific.

Reporting Star is coming off a second-place finish behind Broadway Empire going 1 3/8 miles in the Grade 3, $200,000 Canadian Derby in his first start for MacPherson. He raced exclusively on the East Coast of the United States before being bought privately by Chad Joe following his second-place finish in the Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park for trainer Kathleen O’Connell on July 20. In his previous race, he finished second behind Grade 1 Haskell winner Verrazano in the Grade 3 Pegasus. Despite the long ship from New Jersey to Edmonton and then running a big race going a grueling 1 3/8 miles in the Canadian Derby, he seemed surprising fresh when he worked four furlongs in 47.40 seconds with Enrique Gonzalez aboard last Sunday. Gonzalez will ride Reporting Star in the B.C. Derby.

“I haven’t had him that long, so I don’t know him well enough to judge how he is doing, but that was a nice work,” MacPherson said.

MacPherson is clear on how Bluegrass Pride is coming into the race. In his last start, Bluegrass Pride rallied to win the $50,000 Richmond Derby Trial. His only loss going around three turns came when he was squeezed back at the start in the $50,000 Chris Loseth.

“I have had him all year, so I can say for sure he couldn’t be doing any better,” MacPherson said.

Richard Hamel, who won the B.C. Derby with Second City last year, retains the mount on Bluegrass Pride.

There is plenty of speed in the field, which should help Shooting Jacket, who rallied to beat Bluegrass Pride in the Loseth. Trained by Dino Condilenios, Shooting Jacket is coming off a solid race in the Canadian Derby, waiting for room before unleashing his strong late move to finish third.

Condilenios also entered Modern, who on paper looks like he’ll be used as a rabbit. His only route attempt came in the Richmond Derby Trial, where he set fast fractions before tiring to finish fifth.

“Don’t count him out,” Condilenios said. “He bled in a couple of his earlier races, and we’ve done a lot of work on his lungs to clear them out. I’ve always liked him, and he seems to be coming around right now. At the worst, he guarantees Shooting Jacket will have something to run at.”

Hopeseeker is making just his third start, but he figures to move forward for trainer Carl Lausten following a big effort going around three turns for the first time in the Derby Trial.

“He pretty much has to improve off the race,” Lausten said. “I thought he was done at the three-sixteenths pole, but he just kept running.”

Tracker rallied to finish second in the Trial and will be an underlay with Mario Gutierrez picking up the mount.

Grade 3 Ohio Derby winner Title Contender will try and rebound following a dull effort in the Canadian Derby.

Go for Guinness is out to make amends after finishing fourth as the 4-5 favorite in the Derby Trial.

Owner Glen Todd has lost with many favorites in the B.C. Derby and is hoping longshot Success Rate will be able to give him his first win in the most prestigious race at Hastings.