07/22/2011 12:38PM

Hastings: Condilenios weighing B.C. Cup spot for Almost Time


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Trainer Dino Condilenios still hasn’t made up his mind on whether he was going to run Almost Time in the B.C. Cup Sprint or the Classic. The Classic and Sprint are part of the seven stakes races restricted to British Columbia-breds that make up the bulk of the B.C. Cup Day card coming up Aug. 1.

B.C. Cup Day has turned into the biggest day of the year in terms of attendance and handle at Hastings, and it will be interesting to see if it can hold that distinction this year. The Grade  3, $200,000 British Columbia Derby is one of six stakes here on Sept. 11 and figures to attract a big crowd.

Almost Time would probably be favored in either the Classic or Sprint, but Condilenios was trying to figure out which race will end up being the easier spot.

“I would rather be 3-5 than 4-5,” said Condilenios. “I am going to see who is going where and then make up my mind.”

If Almost Time goes in the 1 1/8-mile Classic, he will be trying to win at a distance at which he has started twice, and both times he wasn’t much of a threat while facing tougher open company. Condilenios was more worried about the company than the distance, however.

“He’ll go a mile and an eighth with the right horses, and obviously he can sprint,” said Condilenios.

Almost Time will be making his fourth start on B.C. Cup Day. He finished second in the 2008 B.C. Cup Nursery, second in the 2009 Stellar’s Jay, and he won the B.C. Cup Sprint last year.

It would seem the logical spot for Almost Time would be in the 6 1/2-furlong Sprint. Almost Time has won seven times sprinting and just once going a middle distance.

The horse Condilenios seems most concerned about, Don’twaitforme, will be running in the Sprint, however.

“Cherokee Notion is also a pretty nice horse, but I’m not sure we want to be chasing Don’twaitforme,” he said.

Trained by Rob VanOverschot, Don’twaitforme has only started once this year, comfortably winning a first-level allowance race July 10. In his final start as a 3-year-old, he was an impressive winner of the Richmond Derby Trial and would have been favored if he made it to the Grade 3 B.C. Derby. He came up with an abscess in one of his feet, however, and didn’t make it to the race. He looked better than ever in his comeback race, and VanOverschot is happy with the way he is coming up to the Sprint.

“We considered the Classic, but going a mile and an eighth off just one sprint would be asking a lot,” he said. “We can stretch him out later. He is doing very well right now. He worked a half-mile in 46 and four Wednesday, and he galloped out in 58 and change. I will probably give him an easy work next Tuesday or Wednesday and he should be ready to go.”

If Condilenios does avoid Don’twaitforme in the Sprint, he will be facing a couple of classy old-timers who have won the Classic, including the all-time leading money winner among B.C.-breds, Spaghetti Mouse. Spaghetti Mouse a 9-year-old, won the Classic in 2006 and 2008. He was edged by Trick of the North in last year’s renewal. Trick of the North, 10, is also being pointed to the Classic.

“The Mouse is doing fine,” said his trainer, Terry Dubois. “He just isn’t able to keep up to the best horses here anymore.”

In his last start, Spaghetti Mouse forced the pace in the $50,000 Lieutenant Governors’ but couldn’t keep up with St Liams Halo and Crew Leader when the real running started. He will have a much easier time running with B.C.-breds in the Classic.

Trainer Barbara Heads is happy with the way Trick of the North is coming up to the race.

“He loves a mile and an eighth, and he couldn’t be going any better,” said Heads. “This will probably be his last shot at it so hopefully he can go out with a bang.”

Heads is also entering Majesticality in the Classic. He won the B.C. Derby last year.

“I will be busy,” she said. “I also have Tierra Del Feugo for the Distaff, and since it is coming up pretty easy we’ll give Princesses Rule a shot in the Dogwood. She’s Tierra Del Feugo’s sister, and we know she has some talent. Goldfire is a bit behind schedule, but he should be ready for the Stellar’s Jay. I am looking forward to it. It’s always a great day.”

The Dogwood, for 3-year-old fillies, appears to be the most wide-open race in the field with no real standout.

Goldfire, and the rest of the 3-year-olds running in the Stellar’s Jay, will have their hands full trying to beat Jump Up and Kissme.