09/20/2007 11:00PM

Jamaica Bound's work clinches derby try

EmailVANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Jim Penney certainly knows what kind of horse it takes to win the Grade 3 British Columbia Breeders' Cup Derby. The last horse he brought up from Emerald Downs for the B.C. Derby was Flamethrowintexan in 2004. Flamethrowintexan ran one of the best races of his career to win the derby by 8 1/2 lengths.

Flamethrowintexan was the second choice at 3-1 in the 2004 derby, but the Penney-trained Jamaica Bound likely will be a bit of a price in what appears to be a very tough field this year. A Kentucky-bred son of Boundary, Jamaica Bound has been a steady if not spectacular horse and he could be coming up to a peak performance. He made a strong move to make the lead at the top of the stretch in the Emerald Derby Sept. 3 but had to settle for second when he couldn't hold off Mulcahy, who rallied from off the pace.

Penney shipped Jamaica Bound up to Hastings for a five-furlong work last Monday, and according to assistant trainer Kay Cooper, he appeared to like the surface.

"We wanted to make sure he handled the track before we entered him," said Cooper. "We were very satisfied with the work, so we'll be up Sunday."

After cooling out from his work, Jamaica Bound got back on the van and headed back to Washington where he does much of his training on a half-mile training track.

"He seems to like traveling," said Cooper. "So we weren't worried about going up and coming back. He also does very well over our small track, so I wasn't surprised he worked as good as he did he up there."

Jamaica Bound was bought for $65,000 out of the Washington September sale in 2005. He has earned just over that amount for his owners, R & R Warren LLC.

"He's a good-looking horse, and one of the reasons we bought him was his good bone structure," said Cooper. "He's been a useful horse and we wouldn't be bringing him up there if we didn't think he had a chance to win."

Footprint coming in on a roll

Another horse shipping in for the derby is the leading 3-year-old in Alberta, Footprint. Trained by Joan Petrowski, Footprint has won three stakes races in a row at Northlands Park. His latest win was in the Gradeo3 Canadian Derby on Aug. 25, and Petrowski likes the way he's progressed since then.

"He really came out of the Canadian Derby in great shape," Petrowski said. "It seems like he's actually doing better now than he was before the derby."

Petrowski is hoping that Footprint isn't just a horse for the course. All five of his wins have come at Northlands Park. It's not that he hasn't run decent races at Stampede Park. He finished a close second in the Alberta Derby and placed in two other stakes there.

"His race in the Alberta Derby is better than it looks," said Petrowski. "It was a muddy track and he got stuck down in the heavy going. We'll just have to wait and see how he handles the track at Hastings."

Footprint has never raced outside of Alberta, and Petrowski wasn't sure how he was going to handle the long van ride over the Rocky Mountains to Hastings.

"Hopefully, the trip won't be a problem," she said. "This will be the longest trip he's had since he shipped up from Kentucky as a baby."

Footprint is scheduled to arrive at Hastings Friday, and Petrowski said he would get a feel for the track Saturday morning.

The last horse based in Alberta that won the B.C. Derby was Fancy As in 2001. He also went on to beat older horses in the Premiers. Petrowski said that Footprint wouldn't stick around to run in the Premiers.

"He's done enough this year," she said. "We'll give him a rest after he runs in the derby."

Ookashada under the radar

Until Sir Gallovic arrived at Hastings in early August, the star of the 3-year-old division was Ookashada. A B.C.-bred gelding by Millennium Allstar, Ookashada has won three stakes races this year and in his last start he finished third to Footprint in the Canadian Derby. He was also the champion 2-year-old in B.C. last year. His trainer, Toni Cloutier, doesn't mind that Ookashada is coming into the derby a bit under the radar.

"I think he's as good as ever, and it's kind of nice to have all the attention on the other horses in the race," said Cloutier. "We're certainly happy with him and I think he might surprise a few people."

With Ookashada's usual rider Pedro Alvarado suspended for the rest of the meet, Cloutier went out of town to replace Alvarado with Justin Stein, who is based at Woodbine. Stein was the leading rider at Hastings in 2005.

"The owners wanted to bring Justin in and I certainly don't have any problems with that," said Cloutier. "He's a very good rider and he certainly knows his way around here."

Great film in Vancouver festival

According to Daily Racing Form publisher Steven Crist, "The First Saturday in May" is the "best horse racing movie of this or many other years."

The film follows six horses as they prepare for the 2006 Kentucky Derby. It debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last April and finished second of 180 films in the voting for audience favorite.

The film is part of the Vancouver International Film Festival and its first showing is Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Vancity Theatre at 9:30 p.m. It can also be viewed at the Empire Granville 7 on Oct. 2 at 1:30 p.m. and Oct. 6 at 10:30 am.