09/09/2011 12:04PM

Hastings: Jebrica worth a look in B.C. Derby

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Couldabenthewhisky, with Gallyn Mitchell aboard, wins the Jim Coleman Province.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The Grade 3, $200,000 British Columbia Derby at Hastings on Sunday appears to be a wide-open affair with no clear-cut favorite. The 1 1/8-mile race is the richest of the Hastings season and drew a full field with all 12 horses carrying 126 pounds. The derby headlines a 10-race card that includes the $100,000 British Columbia Oaks and four other stakes races.

It is a one of the deepest derby fields in recent years, and nine horses appear to have a legitimate shot at winning. Jebrica could be the horse to beat with Russell Baze riding, however. He was given a 100 Beyer Speed Figure for his win over Couldabenthewhisky in the Emerald Downs Derby on Aug. 14, and it probably won’t take a triple-digit figure to win Sunday.

Jebrica, trained by Jim Penney, appeared to be on top of his game when he worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.20 seconds at Hastings last Tuesday. Assistant trainer Kay Cooper was pleased with the work and is expecting another strong performance Sunday.

“He is obviously a nice horse, and he is just starting to come alive,” said Cooper. “He had some problems early in his career, so we had to be patient with him. It is just starting to pay off.”

Couldabenthewhisky, trained by Bonnie Jennie, could have a slight edge, having won the Jim Coleman Province in his only start at Hastings, on May 7.

Trainer Mike Mitchell, the all-time leader in wins at Del Mar, will be running his first horse in Canada with Hurricane Lake. Mitchell claimed Hurricane Lake out of a winning race on behalf of Jeff Sengara for $50,000 at Del Mar on Aug. 6.

Hurricane Lake has won on dirt, Tapeta, and Polytrack, but this will be his first time going around three turns. He looked comfortable while jogging over the track for the first time Thursday morning.

Martin Garcia, who closed out the Del Mar meet with a win in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity aboard Drill, rides Hurricane lake.

Jebrica and Hurricane Lake will need an honest pace to work with, and there should be plenty of speed provided by the Tim McCanna-trained Winter Warlock, who drew the rail. Winter Warlock set fast fractions before tiring to finish third in the Emerald Downs Derby.

Northern Causeway used his good speed to score a front-running win over Commander in the Richmond Derby Trial in his first start at Hastings. Trained by Len Kasmerski, Northern Causeway lost by a half-length to Hurricane Lake when they met in a first-level allowance race at Golden Gate in March.

Commander missed some training and had been off for over six weeks before his loss to Northern Causeway. He figures to move forward in his second start for leading trainer Troy Taylor.

Inhisglory is the most accomplished horse in the race, with four stakes wins at three different tracks, two at Hastings. He will try and rebound after finishing a disappointing fourth in the Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby August 20.

“He just didn’t run his race,” said trainer Craig MacPherson. “He’s been a sharp horse since he came home.”

Line Change dueled through quick fractions before tiring to finish third in the 1 3/8-mile a Canadian Derby and should appreciate the shorter distance.

Northern Indy rallied to finish a clear second over Line Change and could be a late threat.

First post is 12:20 p.m. Pacific.