09/29/2011 2:50PM

Hastings: Juveniles get to stretch out in Ascot and Fantasy

Four-Footed Fotos
Herescomelucky is the likely 2-year-old champion of the Hastings meet regardless of how he runs Saturday.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Juveniles will be featured on the penultimate card of the 2011 Hastings meet on Saturday.

Headlining the 10-race card is the $75,000 Ascot Graduation for 2-year-old colts and geldings. All eight of the entrants will be stretching out to a mile and a sixteenth for the first time. The same goes for the seven 2-year-old fillies in the $75,000 Fantasy. Also on the card is the $50,000 CTHS Sales Stakes for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, where La Belle Rose looks like the one to beat.

The Ascot is the richest open race for 2-year-olds at Hastings and can go a long way in determining who will be voted the meet’s juvenile champion. This year, however, Ascot favorite Herescomelucky is a lock to receive the award whether he wins or not.

Trained by Elizabeth Stolzenberg, Herescomelucky has won three three sprint stakes at the meet and finished second to Sartorialist in the Jack Diamond Futurity. The pair met again in the CTHS Sales Stakes on Sept. 11 and Herescomelucky came away a convincing winner over Joint Choice with Sartorialist unplaced.

As a full-brother to Country Kat, the 2004 Fantasy winner, Herescomelucky should find a mile and a sixteenth within his range.

“I don’t think he’ll have any trouble stretching out,” said Stolzenberg. “He doesn’t win by much and the times are just average, but he just does what he has to do. We’ve been giving him a couple of extra rounds in the morning and he should be fine. He is just the coolest little horse around.”

Mario Gutierrez retains the mount.

Joint Choice drew the rail and looks like the one they will have to catch with Richard Hamel aboard. Joint Choice set the pace and then held on well to finish second in the CTHS Sales Stakes in his latest start. His trainer, Craig MacPherson, won the Ascot with Too Much Dirt last year.

With Council is a maiden but he looks like the main threat. Trained by Dino Condilenios, With Council has closed well in three sprints and he has the breeding to improve going a middle distance. He is from the first crop of the ill-fated Lawyer Ron, who set a track record for a mile and an eighth winning the Grade  1 Whitney at Saratoga. With Council’s dam, With Flair, won the Grade 3 Maple Leaf at Woodbine.

Lord Henry is coming off an allowance win Sept. 9 and has the look of a horse that will improve going a middle distance. His trainer, Syvea Gregory, is more optimistic about the chances of England Swings in the Fantasy, however.

Gabigotherway looks like a standout in the Fantasy. She showed a lot of promise for trainer John Morrison when she set fast fractions and kept on rolling in her debut win July 17. After finishing third to Sunnyside Gal in both the B.C. Cup Debutante and Sadie Diamond Futurity, she broke through with a dominating performance over Sunnyside Gal tp win the CTHS Sales Stakes on July 11.

England Swings is a viable longshot based on breeding. By Kitten’s Joy, she is a full-sister to Big Blue Kitten, a 3-year-old who recently won the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame on grass at Saratoga. England Swings has only started once, finishing last in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race won by the sensational Claresmiezie. She looked sharp working five furlongs with Lord Henry last Sunday.