09/13/2013 3:13PM

Hastings: British Columbia Derby winner Title Contender eyes Premiers

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Title Contender, winner of the British Columbia Derby, is targeting the Premiers on Oct. 14.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Title Contender came out of the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby in good shape and will likely make his next start in the Grade 3, $100,000 British Columbia Premiers Handicap on closing day at Hastings, Oct. 14.

“We’ve just been shedrowing him, but he seems fine,” trainer Anita Bolton said. “We’ll see how he is when he gets back on the track, but we’re definitely taking a good look at the Premiers.”

Title Contender, who won the Grade 3 Ohio Derby on July 27, was coming off a dull effort in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby on Aug. 17. Due to the disappointing performance, he paid a generous $22. He was the only graded winner going into the derby, and Bolton was not surprised he ran a big race to win by a convincing 4 3/4 lengths over Hopeseeker.

“We weren’t really sure what to expect after his performance in Edmonton,” Bolton said. “But I was really encouraged with how well he behaved in the paddock and thought he would run a lot better.”

A huge thunder and lightning storm that hit Northlands Park a couple of hours before the Canadian Derby might have had something to do with Title Contenders’s behavior in the paddock.

“I don’t know how much the storm threw him off, but he had a lot to deal with, especially the long ship just before the race,” Bolton said.

Bolton also won the $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity with Andallthatitmeans. The 2-year-old son of Cause to Believe looked like he was going to be an easy winner when he opened up a clear lead on the stretch turn but was all out to hold off a determined Neverabettercause by a nose.

Bolton wasn’t sure where he would make his next start.

“We’re not really sure what we’re going to do with him,” Bolton said. “We’re just going to monitor him for a few more days before we look more seriously at his future.”

She said the $75,000 Ascot Graduation, also on closing day, is a possibility.

Winning two of the biggest races at Hastings on the same day was a thrill for Bolton.

“It was very exciting,” she said. “I think I think I should just go home now and quit while I’m ahead.”

That isn’t going to happen with Title Contender heading to the Premiers as one of the logical favorites.

Hopeseeker targets sales stakes

Trainer Carl Lausten said Hopeseeker will make his next start in the $50,000 CTHS Sales Stakes for 3-year-olds on Sept. 29. Hopeseeker was making just his fourth career start in the British Columbia Derby, and considering how well he ran, he appears to have a bright future. He should be a short price when he makes his next start in the restricted Sales Stakes.

“He was just one race short,” Lausten said. “I don’t know if he could have beat Title Contender, but he had just one route behind him and he just wasn’t ready to run as hard as he needed to the whole race.”

Lausten said Hopeseeker came out of the race perfect.

“If he handles the Sales Stakes as well as he handled his last race, we’ll take a serious look at running him in the Premiers,” Lausten said.

Tempered Steel turned out for year

Owner Joanne Todd said Tempered Steel is being turned out following her win in the $100,000 British Columbia Oaks. Todd purchased Tempered Steel for $500 after she did not sell as a yearling in the 2011 CTHS yearling and mixed sale. With her win in the Oaks, Tempered Steel has earned $158,175.

Dubbed the “divorce horse,” because of the rift Tempered Steel caused when Todd told her husband Brian O’Connell she had bought the horse, Tempered Steel came up with a minor injury following the Oaks. O’Connell also owns and trains Tempered Steel.

“It is nothing serious, but we’re going to give her the rest of the year off and bring her back in full form next year,” Todd said.

Average down 13% at CTHS sale

Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society-B.C. Division president Leif Nordahl was pleased with the results from last Tuesday’s CTHS yearling and mixed sale.

“We didn’t have as many high-priced horses, but the middle was very strong,” Nordahl said.

A total of 91 yearlings were sold for gross receipts of $1,328,200, which was close to last year’s total of $1,335,700. The average of $14,595 was off by 13 percent compared to last year’s average of $16,696. The median price, $9,000, was up by 13 percent over last year’s median of $8,000.

The sale topper was bought by Glen Todd for $102,000. The colt by Second in Command out of Mascaretta is a half-brother to Andallthatitmeans.

Todd was one of the six people who won a $10,000 credit to purchase a horse at the sale. Doug Clyde, Gerry Lucko, Cliff Cunningham, Mal Beveridge, and Ralph Jesiak also took advantage of the unique promotion. There were three credits drawn prior to the sale, and three more were drawn after 60 horses went through the sales ring.