07/04/2013 12:01PM

Hastings notes: Gilker weighs options for moody Herbie D

Four-Footed Fotos
Herbie D won the $50,000 Lieutenant Governors’ at Hastings last Monday after acting up in his stall.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Trainer Rob Gilker was more relieved than anything when Herbie D won the $50,000 Lieutenant Governors’ at Hastings last Monday. Gilker was a bundle of nerves going into the 1 1/16-mile race.

One of the reasons for Gilker’s concern was that Herbie D didn’t follow up his brilliant, front-running win sprinting in the John Longden 6000 when he came back going around three turns in the Sir Winston Churchill. Herbie D ran a good race in the Winston Churchill but finished third as the heavy favorite.

“I don’t think he was a short horse going into his last race, so I was a bit surprised and concerned the way he finished the race,” Gilker said.

What really got Gilker going, though, was the way Herbie D was behaving Monday.

“After he got treated with Lasix, he washed out and then kicked his stall and spread his shoes,” Gilker said. “I was in full panic mode by then.”

Gilker is a hands-on trainer and does his own shoeing. He was sweating under his suit and tie when he had to straighten out Herbie D’s shoes.

“I was certainly the best-dressed blacksmith on the grounds,” Gilker said. “The only way we could get him to relax was to keep him out of his stall. He was a lot happier when he was standing outside in the sun. I’m really glad he was the only horse we had running Monday so we could devote all of our time to him.”

Gilker can now lose sleep over where he is going to run Herbie D next. The main goal for Herbie D is the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 18. He also mentioned the B.C. Cup Classic on B.C. Cup Day, Aug. 5, as a possibility.

Last year, trainer Troy Taylor used the 1 1/8-mile B.C. Cup Classic as Taylor Said’s final prep before he won the Longacres Mile. Taylor Said toted 128 pounds in the Classic, nine more than he carried when he won the Lieutenant Governors’ Handicap.

Herbie D might not be assigned 128 pounds, but he is going to have to carry significantly more weight if he runs in the Classic, which is restricted to British Columbia-breds. He carried 118 pounds in the Lieutenant Governors’ Handicap.

“I just don’t know where we’re going with him,” Gilker said. “The Classic is a possibility, but it is a mile and an eighth, and we know he is going to get more weight. We wanted to run him in the Mile last year, but he was late making it to the races because of an injury to a suspensory, and he would have gone into the race with just one sprint. We thought he was good enough, but reality set in, and we knew it was just too much to ask.”

Mixed bag for Condilenios

Trainer Dino Condilenios wasn’t that surprised by Shrug’s disappointing effort in the Lieutenant Governors’ Handicap. Shrug went into the race off a game win over Wilo Kat and Herbie D in the Sir Winston Churchill and was sent off as the favorite. He never really looked like a threat while finishing fourth.

“He had three hard races in a short span, and I was 50-50 about running him in the race,” Condilenios said. “He seemed to be doing great, but he just came up a bit dull.”

Shooting Jacket put a smile on Condilenios’s face a few races later when he beat Bluegrass Pride in the $50,000 Chris Loseth for 3-year-olds. Shooting Jacket was part of this year’s package of horses Swift Thoroughbreds Inc. purchased from Darley Stable.

“What really impressed me about the race is that they were walking up front, and he was still able to come from well back to win the race,” Condilenios said.

The next stakes race for 3-year-olds at Hastings is the Stellar’s Jay, restricted to British Columbia-breds on B.C. Cup Day, and as a Kentucky-bred, Shooting Jacket isn’t eligible for the race. He may not race again until Aug. 15 in the Richmond Derby Trial. Shooting Jacket didn’t show much in his five races as a 2-year-old last year for trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni in Great Britain but has developed nicely in just three starts for Condilenios.

“One of the reasons we want to keep him here is that he is a pretty nervous horse, and I just don’t know how he would handle shipping to another track,” Condilenios said. “He was a lot worse when he got here, but he seems pretty happy now. He still runs around his stall when he comes back from galloping, but now he just does it for a few minutes instead of all day.”

◗ The most interesting race on Saturday’s seven-race card, which begins at 1:50 p.m Pacific, is a maiden special weight for 2-year-olds going about six furlongs. The race drew seven horses and goes as the sixth race. It is a wide-open race, and Condilenios is expecting Goliath to improve in his second start. Goliath finished fifth when he debuted in a similar race June 21.

◗ A memorial service will be held for former jockey Delbert Rycroft in the backstretch restaurant at Hastings at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Rycroft died of unknown causes roughly a month ago at age 62. There was a service held for him in his hometown of Teepee Creek, Alberta, on June 17.

◗ The New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society is holding its second annual Winners Circle Charity Day at the Races on Saturday. Tickets are $60, and proceeds will go to New Stride, which is dedicated to finding adoptive homes and new careers for retired Thoroughbreds.