08/29/2007 11:00PM

Hidden Heart on fast track in B.C. Oaks prep


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The annual fair held on the Pacific National Exhibition grounds where Hastings is located is almost over, and local racing fans will be glad to see it go. Parking, more than doubled in price to $15 and becomes difficult to find, and race fans have to weave their way through large groups gathered around salespeople pitching devices that make it a lot easier to slice and dice vegetables. Also, everyone watching their weight has a hard time because it's just about impossible to walk past the mini-donut stand.

It will be worth the aggravation to make it out to Hastings on Saturday. The $50,000 Hong Kong Jockey Club, the final prep for the Grade 3, $125,000 British Columbia Breeders' Cup Oaks, shapes up as one of the most interesting races of the year.

Suva and Napa head the local 3-year-old filly division, but they could have their hands full with a very tough Alpine Garden, shipping in off an easy win in the $100,000 Sonoma Handicap at Northlands Park on Aug. 11.

Another horse making the Hong Kong Jockey Club an intriguing race is Hidden Heart. Her trainer, Toni Cloutier, thinks Hidden Heart has the stuff it takes to win a Grade 3 Oaks, but she'll need to earn a starting spot in that race with a big effort Saturday.

Hidden Heart couldn't have been more impressive in her first start at Hastings last weekend. Nonetheless, it's a lot to expect from a horse to go from winning a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race to beating Grade 3 company at 1 1/8 miles just one month later. Cloutier is confident that Hidden Heart can bounce back quickly from her easy win last Saturday.

"I really like her," said Cloutier. "Obviously, it's a bit of a rush job for the Oaks, but there wasn't a sweat mark on her when she came back from her last start, and she really seems to be thriving. We really don't want to run her back in a week, but she wasn't tired after her race, and if we don't get a route into her she probably won't be fit enough to run in the Oaks."

Hidden Heart had never raced on dirt prior to her 5 3/4-length win here last Saturday. She began her career in Ireland, where she finished third in a six-furlong maiden race as a 2-year-old. In her first start in the United States, she raced over Polytrack at Keeneland, finishing sixth to Marquee Delivery in a maiden special weight race April 27. Marquee Delivery is a very nice filly who finished a troubled third in the Grade 3 Arlington Oaks in her latest start.

Hidden Heart also ran on Polytrack at Arlington, finishing fifth in a maiden special weight race May 20. Hidden Heart will be stretching out to 1 1/16 miles for the first time in the Hong Kong Jockey Club, but she ran well to finish a close fifth going a mile on the Churchill Downs turf course in her start prior to shipping to Hastings .

"She galloped out very strongly in her race here, and so I don't think she'll have any trouble going a distance," said Cloutier. "She sure has a different way of going when she's training, though. Kind of like a pacer. But, when she runs it's a whole different ballgame."

Hidden Heart isn't much to look at. She's a very slight filly, but according to Cloutier she's just starting to fill out.

"She's put on a lot of weight since she arrived here," she said. "She's also a great horse to work with. You can do anything with her and nothing seems to bother her. She came out of her last race in such great shape, so we're going to take a shot with her."

Mike Boylen is the owner of Hidden Heart. He also owns half of Ookashada, who finished third in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park last Sunday. According to Cloutier, Ookashada came out of the race in "excellent shape" and is slated to make his next start in the $250,000 B.C. Breeders' Cup Derby on Sept. 23.

Monashee bound for Ballerina

Monashee came out of her win in the $100,000 City of Edmonton Distaff at Northlands Park in good shape, and according to her trainer, Tracy McCarthy, she will be pointed to the Grade 3, $125,000 Ballerina Breeders' Cup on Oct. 13.

Monashee has now won nine stakes races in a row, and she carried 128 pounds in the Edmonton Distaff. Under the weight-for-age conditions of the Ballerina, Monashee will carry 123 pounds. If that's not enough to scare the competition, McCarthy thinks Monashee is just starting to peak.

"She's bigger and better than she's ever been," said McCarthy. "She actually gained weight in Alberta, and like a lot of mares she loves the cooler weather in the fall."

Futurity fields start to take shape

Rosada, who won the Lassie Stakes by six lengths over Chianti Dancer last Saturday, will be pointed to the $100,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity on Oct. 7.

She's trained by Barb Heads, who also has the B.C. Cup Debutante winner Remarkable Miss in her barn.

"We'll keep them apart until the Futurity," said Heads. "Remarkable Miss goes next week in the Sales Stakes."

Heads was referring to the fillies division of the $60,000 CTHS Sales Stakes on Sept. 8.

Headed to the colts and geldings division of the Sales Stakes, Sept. 9, is Star Prospector. Trained by Terry Jordan, Star Prospector has won two stakes in a row. He beat Call Me Tomorrow in both the B.C. Cup Nursery on Aug. 6 and in the New Westminster Stakes last Sunday.

"Everything's good with him right now," said Jordan. "We're looking at the Sales Stakes and then the Jack Diamond Futurity."