08/16/2011 1:09PM

Hastings: Cherokee Notion looks tough

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Cherokee Notion looks like the one to beat in an allowance race for 3-year-olds and up who haven’t won $30,000 since April 16. There is a claiming option in the 1 1/16-mile race that will serve as Thursday’s feature, but the only horse running for a claiming price in the eight-horse field is Finally Kruisin, who is eligible to be claimed for $45,000.

First post for a rare Thursday card is 7:15 p.m.

Trained by Troy Taylor, Cherokee Notion is coming off a second-place finish in the B.C. Cup Sprint on Aug. 1, and from five sprints this year he has compiled a solid 2-2-1 record. He shouldn’t mind the move to a middle distance. He won the 1 1/16-mile B.C. Cup Stellar’s Jay as a 3-year-old last year and also finished third as the favorite in the Grade 3, $200,000 British Columbia Derby going 1 1/8 miles.

Cherokee Notion has good speed, and it is likely jockey Mario Gutierrez will be sending him right to the lead if he breaks alertly leaving from the rail.

Taylor, has also entered Finally Kruisin who could be dangerous if a hot pace develops. In his first start for Taylor, he posted a career-best Beyer Speed Figure in a $25,000 claiming race going 6 1/2 furlongs Aug. 7, and his best races have been going long.

Spaghetti Mouse is the class of the field, but age could be catching up to this 9-year-old son of Archers Bay, who is trained by Terry Dubois. The all-time leader in money earned by a B.C-bred, Spaghetti Mouse chased a fast pace before fading to finish last in the B.C. Cup Classic won by Almost Time on Aug. 1. If his best-of-the-day five-furlong move in 58.60 seconds last Thursday is any indication, he came out of the race in good shape, however. He will need to avoid tangling with Cherokee Notion early if he is going to have any chance of winning.

Majesticality, fourth in the B.C. Cup Classic, is looking for his first win since he upset the B.C. Derby at 40-1 last Sept. 26. Trained by Barbara Heads, Majesticality set the pace before giving way grudgingly in a $35,000 optional claiming race going 1 1/16 miles in his previous start.

Quechee ships in from Northlands Park, where he won a $22,000 claiming race July 20.

B.C Derby to see rematch

Northern Causeway and Commander, the first two finishers in the $50,000 Richmond Derby Trial last Sunday appear to have come out of the race in good shape and will likely meet again in the B.C. Derby on Sept. 11.

They put on a great show in the Derby Trial, with Northern Causeway prevailing by a neck after a stretch-long duel. His trainer, Len Kasmerski, doesn’t give interviews, but judging from Kasmerski’s demeanor Tuesday morning it appears Northern Causeway is doing well and is being pointed to the B.C. Derby. Kasmerski did say he was very pleased with the way Northern Causeway ran in the Derby Trial.

Commander, who was making his first start for trainer Troy Taylor, went at least three wide the whole way and he figures to improve when he comes back in the B.C. Derby. It was his first start since he finished second in a $50,000 optional race at Delaware Park on June 28. According to Taylor, because of flight delays Commander was a bit dehydrated when he arrived here.

“He ran a good race and he came out it in really great shape,” said Taylor’s assistant Mel Beveridge. “He had a rough trip getting here, and he figures to take a big step forward with a race behind him.”

Jebrica, the upset winner of the $65,000 Emerald Downs Derby Sunday, will add to what is shaping up to be a solid B.C. Derby field. Trained by Jim Penney, Jebrica came from well back to win by a clear 2 3/4 lengths over Couldabenthewhisky. He was ridden by Pedro Terrero.

According to assistant trainer Kay Cooper, Jebrica will be stabled with trainer Tracy McCarthy at Hastings.

“I will be calling Tracy to let her know we’re coming,” said Cooper. “We want to get him up there early so he can get used to the bullring.”