06/22/2011 3:44PM

Hastings: Wando Woman still maturing at 4

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Trainer Cindy Krasner is hoping it is Wando Woman’s time to shine when she runs in the $50,000 Vancouver Sun for fillies and mares at Hastings on Saturday. Wando Woman was a late bloomer for Krasner as a 3-year-old last year, but once she figured it out, she became one of the top sophomore fillies in Western Canada.

After winning a maiden special weight race in her third start July 4, she finished second to Dearest Princess in the B.C. Cup Dogwood and then won the CTHS Sales Stakes. She proved she could run with open company in her next start, finishing second behind Zenovit in the British Columbia Oaks. She closed the year with a fast-closing fifth against older fillies and mares in the Grade 3 Ballerina.

Some horses have a hard time making the transition when they become 4-year-olds, but Wando Woman seems to be doing fine. She is a much better horse going long than short, so it wasn’t surprising that she beat one horse in a $50,000 optional claiming race going 6 1/2 furlongs when she made her seasonal debut over a sloppy track May 7. She surprised quite a few people when she came back to win a similar race May 22. Krasner stretched her out for the first time this year in a $50,000 optional claimer won by Caged Mistress on June 5. Wando Woman made a late move to finish fourth. Caged Mistress will be one of the favorites in the Sun.

“Really, she ran a much better race than it looks on paper, because there was no pace at all,” Krasner said.

Krasner has a point. They couldn’t have been going any slower, and she knew Wando Woman’s goose was cooked when they posted the first quarter in 25 seconds flat.

“She still made up a ton of ground though,” Krasner said. “It set her up perfectly for the Sun, and she is coming into the race as a very sharp horse.”

The main reason it took Krasner so long to get Wando Woman to the races was her mental capacity. She was sound but just wasn’t sure what being a racehorse was all about.

“She has matured quite a bit over the winter,” Krasner said. “But she still isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. When she trains in the mornings, she gallops around the track the first time around like she’s a green 2-year-old, still looking and gawking at everything. She does settle in for her second time around though.”

Krasner also is entering P. S. Touch Down in the Sun. Similar to Wando Woman, P. S. Touch Down took a while to come around for Krasner. She crossed the finish line first in her second start as a 3-year-old in 2009 but was disqualified and placed fifth for causing interference. She finally broke through last year, winning a $20,000 maiden race in her eighth career start. She progressed nicely, and while still eligible for a first-level allowance, she narrowly lost to Summer Song in the Delta Colleen last September. She won her first start this year and ran evenly in her next two races. She will be stretching out for the first time this year in the Sun.

“She’s doing well, and one thing she has that Wando Woman doesn’t is good tactical speed going long,” Krasner said. “At least she’ll be in the game early.”

KimmyV gets high weight for Vancouver Sun

KimmyV, trained by Dino Condilenios, has been based at Hastings since she was purchased privately by Swift Thoroughbreds Inc. last summer, but she will be making just her second start here in the Sun. She started twice at Emerald Downs last year, and her win in the $75,000 Emerald Downs Distaff has a lot to do with her being the starting highweight at 120 pounds.

Classic Alley Kat, who won the first two sprint stakes for fillies and mares here and also the $50,000 Wild Rose Handicap at Northlands Park on June 12, was assigned 122 pounds. According to her trainer, Elizabeth Stolzenberg, she will probably stretch out to 1 1/16 miles for the first time in her career in the $50,000 Strawberry Morn on July 16.

KimmyV should appreciate the move to a middle distance after a third-place finish in the $50,000 Hastings Handicap at Emerald Downs on June 5. In her previous race, she finished sixth as the 9-5 favorite in the Brighouse Belles in her only start at Hastings.

“She had some problems we were aware of when we got her, so we were only able to get a couple of starts with her last year,” Condilenios said. “We would have run her in the Ballerina, but she just wasn’t right. She’s fine now, and we sent her to Emerald because we were just looking for a little easier company.”

◗ Jockey Jorge Espitia will be back riding Saturday. He missed last weekend and won’t be riding Friday due to a hairline fracture in one of his feet. He injured himself coming out of the gate on first-time starter Love N Peace on June 12.

“We thought he might be out longer, but he’s feeling pretty good and the doctor gave him the okay,” said his agent, Wayne Snow. “He took the time off to visit family in New Mexico.”