06/15/2012 1:03PM

Hastings: High End Man impresses Gregory

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Trainer Pete Gregory should know a good horse when he sees one. After all, he trained Bolulight who won the 1992 British Columbia Derby by 12 lengths and went on to become a very good 4-year-old, winning the Grade 3 Longacres Mile. In total, he won 14 races and earned $906,347.

Gregory is pretty high on High End Man who will be running in a 1 1/16-mile, first-level allowance race for 3-year-olds at Hastings on Sunday.

High End Man was a very impressive winner in his first start this year, cruising to a 4 1/2-length win over Wailin’ Jack in a 6 1/2-furlong, $40,000 optional maiden claiming race May 27. Wailin’ Jack came back to win his next start for the same condition going 1 1/16 miles. In High End Man’s only other start, he finished fourth in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden race last September.

Gregory would have preferred to run High End Man in another sprint before stretching him out, but he doesn’t discount his chances Sunday.

“From a progression standpoint, he should have had another race going short,” Gregory said. “But with this race going, nothing is going to fill short for a while. He’s fit enough, and I believe he can carry his quarters at a fairly fast pace. He trains that way. He also has a combination of pedigree that should carry him a distance. He gets his speed from his sire and distance from the mare’s side of the family.”

High End Man is by Joey Franco who won the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap going seven furlongs and the one-mile Grade 2 Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Handicap.

High End Man’s dam, Angie’s Legacy was cheap, but she won three route races. What Gregory likes about Angie’s Legacy is her sire, Jumron, who won the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows. He also finished third in the Santa Anita Derby and fourth in the Kentucky Derby. Jumron ran at Hastings, and Gregory remembers him walking into the paddock prior to his easy win in the Ascot Graduation as a 2-year-old in 1994.

“I was blown away by Jumron when he came into the paddock here,” Gregory said. “It was like a man going up against boys. High End Man is also a big, good-looking horse.”

High End Man earned a modest 63 Beyer Speed Figure for his win, but it was visually impressive and it appeared Amadeo Perez had a lot of horse under him when he was looking for challengers in the late stretch. High End Man didn’t break all that sharply and went four wide around the first turn while stalking an honest pace. He looked very comfortable sitting behind the speed, and when Perez asked him to go, he went.

High End Man came back to work a bullet four furlongs in 45.60 seconds June 7 with Perez aboard.

“I really didn’t want him to work that fast, but he has a really long stride, so it can be deceiving how fast he is going,” Gregory said. “He did it so easily, so I’m not concerned about it.”

Gregory was impressed with High End Man from the start and thinks he has the demeanor to become a good horse.

“The first time he worked as a 2-yer-old, he went three furlongs in 34 seconds flat,” Gregory said. “We decided we had better slow him down after that. He appears to be mentally strong, and I’ve never had a young horse that can breeze that fast that easily. Given the circumstances, if he can do away with this field like he did in his first start this year, we could be looking at something special.”

Gutierrez to ride on Canada Day

Owner Glen Todd confirmed that Mario Gutierrez will be back at Hastings to ride on the Canada Day holiday Monday, July 2. Gutierrez, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preaknees aboard I’ll Have Another, is slated to ride St Liams Halo in the $50,000 Lieutenant Governors for 3-year-olds and up and possibly Taylors Deal in the $50,000 Chris Loseth for 3-year-olds. Both horses are trained by Troy Taylor.

“We haven’t made up our minds about Taylors Deal, yet,” Todd said. “We’ll work him this weekend and then decide.”

Todd and Taylor will likely have the favorite in both races, with Taylor Said in the Lieutenant Governors and Devil in Disguise in the Loseth. They were considering races at Northlands Park or Emerald Downs for St Liams Halo.

“We really wanted to split them up, and Troy is pretty mad at me for keeping St Liams Halo here,” Todd said. “But we need to do everything we can to support racing here, and right now, there is no bigger attraction than Mario. We should get a huge crowd.”