08/29/2012 4:29PM

Hastings: British Columbia Derby coming up loaded


It looks like a full field of 12 3-year-olds will line up in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby Sept. 9. Fresh faces will help make the premier race at Hastings one of the more interesting renewals in recent years. Expected to ship up from Emerald Downs are Italian Boy and D’honorable One, the second- and third-place finishers in the Emerald Downs Derby on Aug. 12.

A couple of horses that have been racing in the eastern United States really spice up the race.

Undefeated Second City will arrive at trainer Craig MacPherson’s barn Thursday morning from Charles Town, where he has won his last two races, and Hoist is comfortably sequestered in leading trainer Troy Taylor’s shed row.

Hoist has won three of his last four races, all in New York, and is coming off a win in a first-level allowance race going 1 1/8 miles over a muddy track at Saratoga Aug. 11.

Second City is the most intriguing horse of the two. He is undefeated in three starts, and in all three of his wins he dominated his opposition. He was purchased by local owner Peter Redekop following his win in a first-level allowance race in his second race.

Second City is a well-bred gelding, and his previous owners probably took a bit of an edge when they ran him in a $25,000 maiden claiming race at Penn National in his first start. He broke on top and won by eight lengths. The margin in his second win, which came going seven furlongs at Charles Town, was also eight lengths, and the 90 Beyer Speed Figure he earned is higher than any of the likely starters in the B.C. Derby have ever posted. Plus, the horse he easily handled, Golden Set, is a 4-year-old West Virginia-bred who has won five races, including a couple of statebred races at Charles Town. His latest win was another romp by 6 1/2 lengths in a second-level allowance race Aug. 25.

A Darley-bred, Second City has never gone longer than seven furlongs but he is by Distorted Humor, who was the leading sire in North America last year and is the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide. The dam of Second City, Sis City, won the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland by over 10 lengths when it was still a dirt track, in 2005. She also won the Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream and Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct. Second City is her second foal. The breeding is there and he obviously has a lot of raw talent.

MacPherson hasn’t seen Second City in person but he liked what he saw when he watched a replay of his latest win.

“He is a robust-looking horse and he can obviously run,” he said. “He just ran the other day, so I won’t be doing much more than babysitting him into the race. At the most I’ll blow him out a day or two before the race.”

MacPherson said Richard Hamel will ride Second City in the derby.

Owner Glen Todd isn’t leaving much up to chance in his quest to win his first B.C. Derby. He owns Taylors Deal, who looks like the one to beat, and is also considering running Devil in Disguise, who is coming off a third in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands last Saturday.

Todd recently purchased Hoist, who is the only horse in the field with a win going the derby distance of a mile and an eighth. Like Second City, he is coming off a very easy win. His 4 1/2-length win was at Saratoga, where the competition is a lot stiffer than Charles Town, though. He also handled the wet conditions very well in the first-level race that was washed off the turf, and it has been known to rain in Vancouver.

“We aren’t messing around this time,” said Todd.

Todd said Mario Gutierrez would ride Hoist. Gutierrez took him for a test drive Tuesday morning.

“I like him,” said Gutierrez. “He isn’t a big horse but he has a nice way of going and should be perfect for this track.”

Filly promotes family harmony

Trainer Brian O’Connell wasn’t very happy with his wife, Joanne Todd, when she purchased Tempered Steel after the yearling filly didn’t reach her reserve at the CTHS yearling and mixed sale last year. He was pretty happy with her after Frank Fuentes guided Tempered Steel to a win in the fillies division of CTHS Sales Stakes last Friday, though.

“I was mad at her until Christmas,” said O’Connell. “I had been in the hot sun looking at yearlings for two days and we usually make our decisions together about which horses we are going to buy. I wasn’t thrilled when she came up to me after the sale and tells me she bought this horse.”

The happy couple reported Tempered Steel came out of the race in good shape and would make her next start in the $100,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity on Derby Day. They will also be looking at yearlings at this year’s CTHS sale at the Thunderbird Show Park Sept. 11.