09/08/2013 8:28PM

Hastings: Title Contender impresses in British Columbia Derby

Four Footed Fotos
Title Contender, with Rico Walcott aboard, wins the British Columbia Derby by 4 3/4 lengths Sunday.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Title Contender, the only graded stakes winner in the field, came from a stalking position to win the Grade 3, $150,000 British Columbia Derby at Hastings on Sunday. The Ohio Derby winner paid $22.

With Rico Walcott aboard, Title Contender hugged the rail around the first two turns while Modern set an honest pace in the 1 1/8-mile race. Walcott moved Title Contender off the rail at the three-eighths pole, and it didn’t take him long to collar Modern. He took over the lead approaching the final turn and quickly opened up a three-length lead heading into the stretch.

Title Contender never looked threatened while drawing away from Hopeseeker to win by 4 3/4 lengths. Hopeseeker, 33-1, was alongside Title Contender at the half-mile pole but couldn’t keep up when Title Contender made his winning move on the turn. Hopeseeker held on well to finish second over the fast-closing Reporting Star, the 4-5 favorite in the 10-horse field.

“He broke good, and then he was nice and relaxed on the rail,” Walcott said of Title Contender. “When I moved him into the clear going down the backstretch, he picked up the bit and went on from there. It worked out pretty good.”

The win gave Walcott a rare double in the two most important races in western Canada. The leading rider at Northlands Park won the Grade 3 Canadian Derby with Broadway Empire at Northlands on Aug. 17.

It was owner Peter Redekop’s second straight win in the B.C. Derby and his third overall. He won the race with Second City last year and with Squire Jones in 1994.

“It is very exciting, and you never get used to it,” Redekop said. “My heart is still racing.”

It was the first B.C. Derby win for trainer Anita Bolton.

The final time was 1:48.24.