06/01/2012 3:35PM

Hastings: Majesticality, Northern Causeway looking to get back on track


The last two Grade 3 British Columbia Derby winners, Majesticality in 2010 and Northern Causeway last year, will be looking to get untracked when they run in the $50,000 Sir Winston Churchill on Sunday at Hastings.

Majesticality, a 40-1 shot when he won the derby in 2010, took the rest of the year off following his win and raced only five times in 2011. He is coming off a fourth-place finish in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race May 12. His trainer, Barbara Heads, is looking for a more productive season with Majesticality this year.

“He had some problems last year, and it is always a tough transition for a 3-year-old stakes horse when he moves into the older handicap division,” said Heads. “We’re still trying to find where he fits but he’s a nice horse and he has been training great all spring.”

Heads was looking forward to stretching Majesticality out in the Churchill.

“He needs to run a distance,” said Heads. “We gave him the one sprint and he ran a good race, but he is a much better horse going long. He really wants to go a mile and an eighth.”

One of the races Heads is looking at for Majesticality is the 1 1/8-mile $75,000 B.C. Cup Classic August 6. He finished fourth in the feature race on B.C. Cup Day last year. The Classic is restricted to British Columbia-breds.

“B.C. Cup is always a good day for those of us that have B.C.-breds,” said Heads. “It is still a long way away, but if he continues to do well he’ll certainly be running in the Classic.”

Heads won the Classic in 2010 with Trick of the North, who was also good enough to upset the Grade 3 Premiers at 16-1 in 2009. An 11-year-old, Trick of the North is still in training. He won two races at Turf Paradise this winter including a $25,000 optional race Feb. 27. After he finished fourth in an allowance race in Phoenix March 13, Heads shipped him to Golden Gate Fields, where he finished fifth in a $32,000 claiming race a month later.

Heads is looking for a race for the classy gelding, who has compiled a 16-13-10 record from 68 starts for earnings of $455,792.

“He’s 11 now but he looks good, feels great and is just a very happy horse,” said Heads. “We brought him back from California because it was hard to find races that would fit him. We ended up running in him in too tough of a spot, so we just brought him home. He’s ready to run, and we aren’t picky of where to run him as long as it’s going long.”

Northern Causeway should like distance

Northern Causeway, trained by Len Kasmerski, came back in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita following his win in the B.C. Derby. It was a pretty tough spot, and he finished last in the 1 1/8-mile race on grass. Kasmerski gave him some time off before he brought him back in an allowance race at Golden Gate on Jan. 16. Northern Causeway ran three times in Northern California, and while he didn’t win, he held his own while facing some tough customers.

In his last start at Golden Gate, Northern Causeway finished third in an allowance race behind Live Sundays and Positive Response, who won the California Derby in 2011. Positive Response recently finished first in the Grade 3 Berkley at Golden Gate but was disqualified for causing interference in the stretch.

In his first start at Hastings since he won the B.C. Derby, Northern Causeway forced the pace in the John Longden before finishing fifth. It was the first time he had sprinted since he ran in a first-level allowance race at Golden Gate in January of 2011. He should appreciate the added distance in the Churchill and he also had an excuse in the Longden, as it appeared he was clipped from behind by Taylor Said going into the first turn.

“He got cut down pretty good,” said Kasmerski. “Any time you get a cut on the tendon it is a big issue.”

From the way Northern Causeway came back to work it is pretty obvious Kasmerski has successfully dealt with the issue. He worked a sharp half-mile in 47.80 seconds May 26 and Friday morning he blew out three furlongs over a sloppy track in 36.40 before galloping out four furlongs in 48.40 seconds. In both works he was ridden by leading rider Amadeo Perez who will ride Northern Causeway in a race for the first time Sunday. He was impressed with both moves.

“He is a very nice horse,” said Perez. “Both times I worked him he did it very easily.”

Perez has 30 wins at the meet and is well clear of Fernando Perez who sits in second place with 21 wins.