09/07/2011 10:48AM

Hastings prep brings together Ascot Graduation hopefuls


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Juveniles prepping for the $75,000 Ascot Graduation Oct. 1 will take center stage at Hastings Friday evening in the first race. The 6 1/2-furlong allowance prep to the 1 1/16-mile Ascot Graduation carries a $30,000 purse and attracted seven horses. Post time for the final Friday card this year is 7:15 p.m. Pacific.

Sir Hayden showed a lot of potential when he made his debut going 3 1/2 furlongs in a maiden special weight race May 22, finishing third behind subsequent stakes winner Claresmiezie and Sunnyside Gal. He came back with an easy win over Unquiet June 10 and this will be his first time going around two turns. Trainer Tracy McCarthy thinks it might be a good place to teach the speedy son of Songandaprayer something.

“He is fast, but he is pretty relaxed and we don’t want him running with Unquiet early, who might go 21 and change,” she said. “He’s bred for speed top and bottom, but if he does well here we’ll certainly think about trying to stretch him out in the Ascot.”

Dave Wilson rides Sir Hayden.

Unquiet is the one they have to catch, and he will be joined by stablemate Deputy’s Command, who figures to be heard from late. Both are Blaine and Kathleen Froats homebreds trained by Phil Hall, and they are not coupled in the wagering.

Unquiet set quick fractions but faded in both the New Westminster and $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity. He gets in light with apprentice Marlo Dunn riding at 105 pounds.

Deputy’s Command is still a maiden but he closed with a rush to finish third in the Jack Diamond Futurity and once again should get set up nicely by his stablemate.

Trainer Sylvea Gregory is looking at the Ascot Graduation as the main goal for Lord Henry. A Kentucky-bred son of Forest Grove, Lord Henry is coming off a third place finish in the New Westminster and figures to improve when he stretches out in the Ascot.

“The timing of this race is perfect for him,” said Gregory.

Mr Jigsaw, trained by Brian O’Connell, could be the sleeper. He wasn’t up to stakes horses when he made his debut in the B.C Cup Nursery but he easily won a $30,000 optional maiden race in his second start Aug. 18.

The Cindy Krasner-trained pair of Strait of Dover and Timark round out the field.