06/15/2011 2:11PM

Hastings: Condilenios packs double punch for Lieutenant Governors


Trainer Dino Condilenios will have a strong one-two punch with Almost Time and Crew Leader in the $75,000 Lieutenant Governors on July 1.

Almost Time is a proven stakes winner with more than $300,000 in earnings. Crew Leader has won three times and has never won a race longer than 6 1/2 furlongs. Crew Leader has won both of his races this year, and he looked particularly sharp in his win over Prince Intent in a $50,000 optional race.

Condilenios said he isn’t sure which horse he likes more in the 1 1/16-mile Lieutenant Governors. Reading between the lines, though, he seems to be leaning in Crew Leader’s direction.

“I always thought Crew Leader was going to be a better horse going long, but he beat a few nice horses in both of his sprints this year,” said Condlienios. “Almost Time shows up just about every time, and we know he can compete with the best horses here. Crew Leader still has to prove it.”

Crew Leader earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure for his latest win, which equals Almost Time’s career best figure. A lightly raced 4-year-old, Crew Leader could just be coming into his own. He hasn’t won going long, but he did make a strong late move to finish second going 1 1/8 miles in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby last year.

“I’ve always been high on him, but he was never perfect last year,” said Condilenios. “He had a big wreck in the truck shipping out right after we bought him. We ended up sending him down to the hospital at the Pegasus Training Center in Washington. He had a few setbacks, and while it wasn’t a big deal, his hind end was bothering him all year. The time off over the winter did him a world of good, and he has been sound all spring. Hopefully he can stay that way. I’m excited about him and hopefully he can fill Teide’s shoes.”

Teide, the local Horse of the Year in 2009, was the top horse in Condilenios’s barn in 2009 and 2010. He was turned out following a dull effort in the John Longden.

“I don’t know if he’s retired or not,” said Condilenios. “For now he’s just turned out. We might bring him back for one or two races later in the year. We’ll just see how he’s doing. He’s been very good to us, and if he doesn’t want to do it anymore we aren’t going to push him.”

MacPherson pair good to go for holiday

Trainer Craig MacPherson likes the way the July 1 holiday weekend is shaping up for the top 3-year-olds in his barn. MacPherson is pointing Too Much Dirt and Inhisglory to the $50,000 Chris Loseth July 1. Belle Evangeline looks like a major player in the $50,000 Supernatural for 3-year-old fillies July 3. The Loseth and Supernaturel are the first middle-distance stakes races for 3-year-olds at the meet.

Both Belle Evangeline and Too Much Dirt looked good winning 1 1/16-mile first-level $50,000 optional races last Sunday. Too Much Dirt has now won both of his races at a middle distance. Last year he won the $52,000 Ascot Sophomore. He was making just his second start of the year on Sunday.

MacPherson wasn’t completely happy with the way Belle Evangeline headed into her race. He was as much relieved as happy about both of their performances.

“With Too Much Dirt, you just never know how they will develop going from 2 to 3,” said MacPherson. “He doesn’t want to sprint, so his first race didn’t tell us anything. I was very happy with the way he ran. I couldn’t train Belle of Evangeline the way I would have liked. She had a minor muscle injury we were dealing with, and she just wasn’t on top of her game. Nice horses can sometimes make up for imperfections. I was super happy with the way she ran and especially the way she came out of the race.”

Richard Hamel rode Too Much Dirt on Sunday but MacPherson was guessing he would choose Inhisglory for the Chris Loseth. Hamel rode Inhisglory to a narrow win over Jump Up and Kissme in the River Rock Casino June 5. He earned an 82 Beyer Speed Figure compared to the 60 Too Much Dirt received in his latest win.

“Richard gets to choose,” said MacPherson. “Too Much Dirt is proven at the distance but I have a feeling he’s going to go with Inhisglory because he was pretty impressed with him after the last race.”

The Chris Loseth and the Richmond Derby Trial were originally slated to be part of a series leading up to the B.C. Derby. Hastings planned on giving a bonus if a horse won all three races. When management at Hastings found it would cost too much to insure the bonus, they decided to drop it. They also cut the purses on the Loseth and Derby Trial from $75,000 to $50,000.

◗ Beginning Friday a portion of the pick five pool will be carried over if nobody picks all five winners. A total of 25 percent will be paid to the most winners if nobody hits all five, and the remaining 75 percent will be carried over to the next racing day. The 20-cent minimum remains in Canada while patrons in the United States still have a $1 minimum.