04/13/2012 12:50PM

Hastings: Claresmiezie starts season in allowance

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Four-Footed Fotos
Claresmiezie will make her 2012 debut in an allowance race Sunday at Hastings.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Sunday’s feature at Hastings is the $50,000 George Royal for 3-year-olds and up, a great betting race with 10 well-matched horses going six furlongs. The seventh race, a six-furlong allowance race for 3-year-old fillies that drew six horses, isn’t nearly as attractive from a wagering prospective, but the presence of Claresmiezie makes it just as compelling.

Claresmiezie was one of the most exciting horses in western Canada last year. She ran three times, twice at Hastings and once at Northlands Park. In her first start at Hastings, with Pedro Alvarado aboard, she was an easy winner over Sunnyside Gal in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race. When they met in the $50,000 Lassie at 6 1/2 furlongs, Alvarado turned her loose, and she crushed Sunnyside Gal by more than eight lengths. She had opened up a 12-length lead at the quarter pole and was on cruise control the rest of the way. Sunnyside Gal is no slouch. She went on to win the B.C. Cup Debutante by eight lengths and also was an easy winner of the $100,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity.

Claresmiezie’s owner, Riversedge Racing Stables Ltd., and trainer, Greg Tracy, are based at Northlands Park. They shipped Claresmiezie there for the Princess Margaret, and she was even more impressive. With Fernando Perez aboard, she took a three-length lead into the stretch and then found another gear, drawing off to win by more than 15 lengths. You just don’t see horses, especially 2-year-old fillies, accelerate like that very often.

Clearly, Claresmiezie was in a different league than the horses she was facing at Hastings and Northlands. Her connections decided to give her a shot in the big leagues, hoping eventually to make it to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She shipped to Monmouth for the $100,000 Sorority, and after breaking on top, she was eased into a stalking position before fading to finish fifth.

“Of course, we were disappointed, but she hurt herself in the race,” Tracy said. “She didn’t look comfortable in the stretch, and we found out later she had an issue.”

Tracy said she had developed a stress fracture just above the ankle in one of her back legs.

“You could barely see it,” Tracy said. “The vet said it was minor and that she should be fine and could resume training in about 60 days. We looked at it after 60 days and it was gone. We gave her another 30 days to be sure, and she seems as good as new now. She needed a break anyway. She had crossed the country a couple of times before her race in Monmouth. She worked in Florida in March and then raced at Keeneland before coming to Hastings.”

Claresmiezie was part of a strong group of horses Tracy had at Golden Gate, and she trained steadily there over the winter. Her works aren’t flashy, but Tracy is happy with how she is coming up to Sunday’s race. She will be ridden by Alvarado, who was aboard for her half-mile work in 49.80 seconds here April 8.

“She didn’t handle the Polytrack at Keeneland very well, so I’m not sure if she liked the synthetic track at Golden Gate,” Tracy said. “We really weren’t pushing her anyway. We’re just looking at Sunday’s race as a place to get her started. I can tell you she has filled out quite a bit, and she looks great. Pedro was very happy with the way she worked.”

Don’twaitforme healthy for stakes

Trainer Rob VanOvershot is excited about running Don’twaitforme in the George Royal. Don’twaitforme has a lot of talent, but he’s had a lot of setbacks in his eight-race career. The biggest was when he was going to be favored in the 2010 British Columbia Derby and hurt himself during his final work. Last year, he ran just three times, winning twice including the B.C. Cup Sprint.

“None of his issues have been major and right now he’s never been better,” he said. “Really, this the first time I’ve been able to train him the way I want.”

Trainer Dino Condilenios also is looking for a big effort from Crew Leader on Sunday. Crew Leader ran well as a fresh horse last year, winning his first two sprints. He went on to win the 1 1/16-mile S.W. Randall Plate and also ran a very good race in the Longacres Mile, finishing fourth behind Awesome Gem. Crew Leader closed the year with a disappointing effort in the $100,000 Premiers.

“I think he was a tired horse by then,” Condilenios said, referring to the Premiers. “He ran his eyeballs out in the Randall, and the Mile took something out of him, too. I know he has won sprinting, but I think he really wants more distance. He is doing really well right now, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran a big race, though.”

Condilenios also has Almost Time, a multiple stakes winner with $329,400 in earnings, entered in the George Royal. A deep closer, Almost Time could be up against it with the lack of pure speed in the race. One of his two wins in 2011 came in the 1 1/8-mile B.C. Cup Classic.

“Almost Time is also doing well, but given the way the race is probably going to shape up, I’m leaning more towards Crew Leader,” Condilenios said.