07/30/2011 11:47AM

Hastings: Classic will test Almost Time's stamina


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – In his 20-race career, Almost Time has won seven sprints, but just one route. Last year he was a runaway winner of the B.C. Cup Sprint. Yet, his connections have opted to run him in the 1 1/8-mile B.C. Cup Classic instead of the Sprint. The Classic headlines the 10-race B.C. Cup Day card that includes seven $50,000 stakes races restricted to British Columbia-breds at Hastings on Monday.

The Classic goes as race 9 and Almost Time clearly has the best form of the eight horses entered. He is coming off two strong efforts versus open company and he will appreciate the easier group he is facing Monday. He closed with a rush to finish second to St Liams Halo in the 6 1/2-furlong John Longden and he also made up a lot of ground to finish third behind St Liams Halo and Crew Leader in the $50,000 Lieutenant Governors’ going a mile and a sixteenth.

Trainer Dino Condilenios isn’t concerned about the distance.

“He can route and I think there are a couple of tough horses in the Sprint,” he said. “The Classic is a tough race too, but in the Sprint he might have gotten too far out of it. I just think he’ll get a better trip in the Classic.” this

Supporters will point out Almost Time’s career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 95 was earned going 1 1/16 miles in the John Longden last year. Detractors will be focused on his two poor efforts going a mile and an eighth.

Frank Fuentes rides Almost Time.

The horse for the distance is Spaghetti Mouse, who has eight wins going nine furlongs. He won the Classic in 2006 and 2008 and he was edged by Trick of the North last year. Trained by Terry Dubois, Spaghetti Mouse forced the pace in the Lieutenant Governors’ before tiring to finish sixth. The all-time leading B.C.-bred money earner, Spaghetti Mouse would be $21,614 short of the $1 million mark if he won the Classic.

Trainer Barbara Heads has solid chances with Majesticality and Trick of the North.

Majesticality is looking for his first win since he upset the Grade 3, British Columbia Derby last September. He is coming off of a second-place finish in a $35,000 optional claiming race where he surprisingly set the pace.

Trick of the North hasn’t won since he beat Spaghetti Mouse in last year’s Classic. The classy 10-year-old finished fifth as the favorite in the same race Majesticality exits.

Tommy Danzigger could be the one they have to catch if leading apprentice Marlo Dunn asks him for speed early. But that’s is a big if, according to trainer Rob Gilker.