06/21/2013 1:57PM

Hastings: Condilenios looking nowhere but up


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Trainer Dino Condilenios is having a strong meet at Hastings, with 26 percent of his starters winning, and he also has won a couple of stakes races with Shrug.

Condilenios has three horses entered Sunday, and all three look very live. Pineapple looks like the one they have to catch in the fourth, a $10,000 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies. Ouch will be among the favorites in a $15,000 claiming race for fillies and mares, and she should be used in the late double with Hockley, who looks like one of the best bets on the card in the last race. Hockley is stretching out to 1 1/16 miles for the first time this year in a bottom-level claiming race, and he should relish the added yardage.

Condilenios, who trains exclusively for Swift Thoroughbred Inc., is hoping for a strong showing from all three of his claimers Sunday, but what really has him excited is how the rest of the meet shapes up for the better horses in his barn.

Shrug is the one proven commodity. He won the $50,000 George Royal sprinting and showed he is going to be a horse to contend with in middle-distance races with his convincing win in the 1 1/16-mile Sir Winston Churchill on June 9.

Shrug is nominated to the $50,000 Lieutenant Governors’ on July 1, but Condilenios isn’t sure he is going to run him there. His main goal is the Grade 3, $200,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 18.

“I want to run Shrug in the Lieutenant Governors’, but that will be four races in just over two months and he’s laid his body down every time,” Condilenios said. “We’ve also nominated Stratify, but we’ll know more about which one or if we’ll run them both when we get closer to the race.”

Condilenios was high on Stratify when he arrived as a 3-year-old as part of a package of horses Swift purchased from Darley Stables last year. He looked like he was on his way to big things when he romped in a $40,000 optional maiden race in his second start for Condilenios on July 21, but he came up with a minor problem and was turned out for the year.

He came back with a decent but somewhat disappointing effort when he finished second as the even-money favorite in an allowance race April 27 but redeemed himself with an impressive win in a first-level allowance race May 20. In both sprints, he was on the muscle right from the start. Stratify showed a new dimension caused by a poor start when he stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in an allowance race last Sunday. After trailing the field, he made up eight lengths to finish third. Condilenios is hoping Stratify is finally going to reach the potential he believes is there.

“I knew he could go long, and I was pretty sure he could rate,” Condilenios said. “He just has a lot of quirks. It might seem odd, since he’s had so many races, but he’s still green. We sent him in his first two races this year because he tends to shy away from horses. He was fine in his last start because he got so far behind. I don’t know if he’s good enough or run with horses like Shrug, but he’s still learning and we should find out soon enough.”

Condilenios is high on Shooting Jacket and Modern, who were both part of this year’s Darley package. Shooting Jacket showed a lot of potential with a win in a maiden special weight race in his first start as a 3-year-old, and he came back with a solid third in the $50,000 River Rock Casino. Modern is coming off a win in a $30,000 optional maiden race going about 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf at Turf Paradise on Jan. 8.

“Shooting Jacket ran well in both of his races here, but I think he needs more distance,” Condilenios said. “He’s not a turn-of-foot kind of horse, and the farther he goes the better.”

Condilenios said Shooting Jacket would get his chance to stretch out to 1 1/16 miles in the $50,000 Chris Loseth on July 1.

Condilenios referred to Shooting Jacket as the best 3-year-old in his barn that he has started at the meet. He isn’t sure if Shooting Jacket is as good as Modern, however.

Modern had a couple of minor issues when he arrived at Hastings but is back on track and looked good working five furlongs in a minute flat Thursday morning.

In his first start as a 2-year-old at Del Mar last August, Modern finished third behind Rolling Fog, who won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity in his next and only other start. After finishing eighth in his next start in a maiden special weight race won by Santa Anita Derby runner-up Flashback, Modern was shipped to Turf Paradise, where he won his only start.

“That was a nice work for him Thursday, and it won’t be long before he’s ready to run,” Condilenios said. “I’m looking forward to seeing if he’s as good as I think he is.”