06/22/2006 12:00AM

Heads expects big things from


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Barb Heads has horses entered in both divisions of the CTHS Sales Stakes for 3-year-olds this weekend.

Excited Miss figures to be one of the favorites in the filly division on Saturday for Heads. She is entering Sungold Wonder and Almost Par in the colts and geldings division Sunday.

Excited Miss, who along with Miss Me Not will carry high weight of 119 pounds in the fillies division, will be stretching out to a middle distance for the first time. A daughter of Mass Market, Excited Miss won her 2-year-old debut going 3 1/2 furlongs in a maiden special weight race and came right back to win the 6 1/2-furlong B.C. Cup Debutante last Aug. 1.

Following the Debutante she was sent home for the rest of the year. In both of her starts in 2006, Excited Miss ran in open stakes company, finishing second to Bond Queen in the Supernaturel Stakes April 22 and third to Sophie's Trophy in the Langley May 20.

Heads said that Excited Miss wasn't at her best when she finished third in the Langley.

"We drew some blood after her race and it was a bit off," said Heads. "Nothing major, but enough to throw her off. She's put on some weight since then and she's really been training well. I can't say for sure that she'll go long, and you never know until they actually try, but she gives every indication that she won't have any trouble stretching out."

Excited Miss should appreciate being back with B.C.-breds and Heads likes the way she's coming up to Saturday's race. Excited Miss is out of Excited Angel, who never won a race longer than 6 1/2 furlongs, plus all of Excited Angel's previous foals have been sprinters, too. Heads thinks Excited Miss could be the exception.

"She certainly acts like she'll handle the extra distance," said Heads. "She trains hard and she's a relaxed horse, so Davie should be able to place her where he wants."

Heads was referring to jockey David Wilson who rode Excited Miss in her first three races and will be back on board Saturday. Wilson rode Sophies Trophy in the Langley.

Watch out for Almost Par

Surprisingly, Heads prefers Almost Par to Sungold Wonder in the colts division Sunday. Sungold Wonder won the Jack Diamond Futurity last year and has over $80,000 in earnings and Almost Par recently won his maiden for $25,000. Almost Par is coming off of a good effort in a $50,000 optional sprint June 3, though, and Heads feels he's an improving horse.

"Almost Par really seems to be coming around right now," said Heads. "On the other hand, we're trying to play catch-up with Sungold Wonder. He hurt himself in the Klondike and then didn't run very much after he banged into the starting gate in his next start. He really didn't get much out of his last race, so we're a bit behind. I just want him to move forward Sunday."

Almost Par is a full brother to Lady's Jewel, who was a multiple route stakes winner. Lady's Jewel paid almost $45 when she won the Liberation. It came right on the heels of her maiden win and it was also her first time going a middle distance.

"I don't think there's any doubt he'll improve going long," said Heads of Almost Par. "Plus he just keeps getting better and better."

The CTHS Sales Stakes are limited to horses that went through a Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society sale.

Ex-claimer Ice Machine among faves

When trainer Terry Jordan reached in to claim Ice Machine on behalf of Bob Cheema for $50,000 April 22, he wasn't looking for a stakes horse. Nonetheless, Ice Machine figures to be one of the favorites in the fillies division of the CTHS Sales Stakes.

"I claimed her because I thought she could win for $35,000 and if we lost her at least we would be even," he said. "If she got beat, we didn't want her anyway."

Jordan did run Ice Machine back for $35,000 and she won by nine lengths over a sloppy track. She could be the controlling speed in the Sales Stakes, and if they leave her alone up front, she could be very dangerous.

Five stakes winners in six-horse race

The best race on Saturday's card is the fourth race, which is a $75,000 optional claiming sprint for older horses. Although there are only six starters in the race, five are stakes winners.

My Master, trained by Steve Henson, should be the favorite. A Grade 3 stakes winner in Argentina, My Master was a very impressive winner of a $35,000 optional sprint here May 7. It was his first start since he finished third to Grade 1 winner Taste of Paradise in a stakes at Hollywood Park Dec. 5, 2004. Henson is expecting a strong effort Saturday.

"He came out of his comeback race in great shape," said Henson. "I would have run him back sooner but there hasn't been a race that's filled for him."

Henson said that if all goes well, My Master would likely make his next start in the B.C. Cup Sprint Aug. 1.