08/30/2011 2:07PM

Hastings: Tlaquepaque earns shot in British Columbia Derby


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – It looks like there will be a full field of 12 horses for the Grade 3, $200,000 British Columbia Derby on Sept. 11. The derby headlines what will be the strongest card of the year at Hastings. Supporting the derby will be five stakes races, including the $100,000 British Columbia Oaks. The total value of the six races is $500,000, which eclipses the $350,000 for the seven stakes races on B.C. Cup Day.

Jebrica, trained by Jim Penny, was given a 100 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the $65,000 Emerald Downs Derby and could end up being the favorite. Couldabenthewhisky, who finished second, also should attract a lot of support. He won the Jim Coleman Province in his only start at Hastings for trainer Bonnie Jenne.

Tlaquepaque is an intriguing longshot. He is coming off a second-place finish behind Fransors Finest in a 1 1/16-mile, $50,000 optional claimer on Aug. 24, but he probably would have won the race with a clean trip. With Isaias Cardenas riding, Tlaquepaque trailed the field early and then started to unleash a furious move from along the rail at the three-eighths pole. He ran into traffic, however, and was forced to steady at the quarter pole, while Fransors Finest was making his move on the outside. After regrouping, Tlaquepaque started rolling again, but came up a half-length short. Tlaquepaque was coming off a disappointing effort in the Richmond Derby Trial, but the improved performance convinced his trainer, Jodie Rawson, to give him a shot in the B.C. Derby.

“It was kind of hard not to be impressed with the race,” Rawson said. “There wasn’t much Cardenas could do. Another horse was outside him when he started to move, and once he got stopped, it was hard to get him going again.”

Rawson expects Tlaquepaque to take a big step forward in the derby.

“I may have had him a little too sharp for the Derby Trial, and he ran off a bit with the rider,” she said. “He really wants to run from off the pace, and he was just too close in the Trial. In the Trial, he was a little behind the other horses with just a sprint and one route going into it. He should be caught up now with another race behind him.”

Rawson is in the late stages of pregnancy and has been overseeing Tlaquepaque’s training from home. She is due Sept. 19.

“I’m on the phone a lot,” she said. “I’ve had a few false labors, and my doctor said I should stay home. I still come in for the races, though. Hopefully, the derby won’t cause him to come out sooner than he is supposed to.”

According to trainer Jim Ellickson, Fransors Finest also is being pointed to the derby.

“That was a good race for him,” Ellickson said.

Fransors Finest finished a distant third in a first-level allowance race behind older stakes winner Silly Fella in his previous start.

“It turned out he was full of mucus,” Ellickson said. “He should appreciate the extra sixteenth in the derby, and I don’t think you can say that for a lot of the other horses that will be running.”

‘Castinette’, Overvalued eye Oaks

Trainer Troy Taylor said Castinette Dancer came out of her win over Overvalued in last Friday’s Hong Kong Jockey well and will be pointed to the $100,000 B.C. Oaks

Castinette Dancer will go into the $100,000 B.C. Oaks as the clear local favorite following her four-length win.

Overvalued could take a big step forward in the Oaks, though. Trainer Tracy McCarthy was concerned where Overvalued stood going into the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Her concerns were alleviated by Overvalued’s strong peformance.

Overvalued hadn’t raced since she beat Castinette Dancer in the Supernaturel on July 3. Both horses were shipped to Northlands to run in the Northland Park Oaks on July 31, but Overvalued caught a virus and never made the race. Castinette Dancer finished third.

McCarthy was pleased with the way Overvalued came out of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, a race she obviously needed.

“I was worried about how she was going into the race and really happy with the way she came out of it,” McCarthy said. “We kind of babied her after she got sick. If we didn’t knock her on her ass, she could be coming around at the right time.”

Overvalued looked very sharp at the barn Tuesday morning, and McCarthy said she would go back to the track for the first time Thursday.

Spence to receive literacy award

Local owner-trainer Jeannie Spence was awarded the 2011 Dr. Alan Middleton Workplace Literacy and Learning Award. The award is presented by ABC Life Literacy Canada, a nonprofit society dedicated to improving life-long learning in Canada. The award is given to an individual who made an outstanding contribution toward increasing workplace literacy and essential skills in their community.

Spence, a board member of the local Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, was instrumental in starting and running the backstretch Learning Center at Hastings.

Spence will receive her award at the Life Literacy Night in the Gardiner Museum in Toronto on Sept. 28.