04/12/2013 2:13PM

Hastings: MacPherson could inherit top spot from Taylor in trainer standings

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Four-Footed Fotos
Second City gave trainer Craig MacPherson a career highlight winning the British Columbia Derby in 2012.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – It seems inconceivable that Troy Taylor won’t be the leading trainer at Hastings this year. After all, the 81-year-old Taylor has been the leading trainer here for the past six years, and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Taylor, however, thinks he might not have the bullets this year.

“I have a solid group of stakes horses, but I might not have enough cheap horses to get enough wins,” Taylor said.

If that is the case, it could pave the way for trainer Craig MacPherson to move into the top spot. He finished second behind Taylor the past three years, and he likes the makeup of his barn this year.

“I am a bit short of older horses, but I have a lot of promising 3-year-olds that look like they can run,” said MacPherson. “They all have conditions, so there should be plenty of races for them. We all know Troy is going to be tough to beat, though.”

A good example of what we could be seeing from the MacPherson barn this year is Sunday’s seventh race, where he has After the Conflict and Stormin for Becka entered in a first-level allowance race for 3-year-olds.

“They can both run, but I would have to give the edge to After the Conflict,” said MacPherson. “He is racing-fit, and that means a lot this time of year.”

After the Conflict is coming off an easy win in a maiden claiming race at Golden Gate Fields on March 22, and MacPherson said he handled the ship to Hastings well.

Stormin for Becka was a big disappointment for MacPherson last year. He looked like he was going to be one of the top 2-year-olds at Hastings when he scored an impressive win in his debut in a $40,000 optional maiden race. In his next start he was sent off as the odds-on favorite in the CTHS Sales Stakes but ran greenly and was pulled up going into the first turn.

“I just can’t explain what happened to him,” said MacPherson. “The way he trained after his debut it looked like he could any kind of horse. I was shocked when he was pulled up in the Sales Stakes, It was like he was switching leads up front but not in back, and the rider pulled him up because he thought something was wrong with him.”

Stormin for Becka also had a troubled trip in the $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity and ran an indifferent race when he finished a distant fourth in a first-level allowance race in his final start at 2.

“I don’t know what to expect Sunday,” said MacPherson. “He’s had a couple of real nice works, and hopefully he’s matured enough that he’ll run as well during his races as he trains in the mornings.”

The biggest thrill of MacPherson’s career was winning the Grade 3, $200,000 British Columbia Derby with Second City last year. He downplayed his role in Second City’s win. Second City was owned by Peter Redekop, who sold him to Paul Reddam following his win in the derby.

“I can’t take a lot of credit for the horse’s performance,” said MacPherson. “He showed up ready to run, and my end was pretty minimal. It didn’t make it any less fun, though. I don’t know if I have any derby horses in the barn right now, but Peter is looking for one, so hopefully we’ll make the dance again.”

MacPherson has been impressed by Bluegrass Pride, a 3-year-old owned by Leo and Norma Shaw. The Shaws claimed him for $40,000 when he dropped into a maiden claiming race in his third start at Woodbine last year.

“We worked him the other day in company, and we kind of messed it up, but he certainly showed us a lot,” said MacPherson. “I wanted him to sit just off the other horse during the early part of the work, but he was about 10 lengths behind when they broke off. He finished full of run to catch the other horse and I’m looking forward to running him.”

The final time for the sharp move was 1:00.20, the second-best of 24 works at the distance.

Barroby back after scare

Trainer Harold Barroby gave everyone at Hastings a scare when he was rushed to the hospital after complaining of dizziness Thursday morning. Barroby, 69, was back at the track Friday morning in good spirits.

“They weren’t sure what caused it, but they checked me out and said I was fine,” said Barroby. “I feel great today.”

Barroby does have a minor problem with his heart and thought the dizziness could have been caused by aspirin, which he uses as a blood thinner.

“I am not sure when it is going to happen, but I should have an operation on my valves fairly soon,” said Barroby. “They want to do it while I’m still healthy.”

Barroby is the all-time leading trainer in wins and stakes wins in British Columbia.