10/29/2008 11:00PM

Jockeys revise Gilker's game plan in stakes


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Rob Gilker was glad jockeys Frank Fuentes and Dave Wilson weren't listening that closely when he gave them prerace instructions prior to the Fantasy and Ascot Graduation stakes last weekend at Hastings.

Gilker instructed both Fuentes, who rode Fashionable Affair in the $108,138 Fantasy on Saturday, and Wilson, who was aboard Tommy Danzigger, in the $107,674 Ascot on Sunday, to have their horses on or near the lead.

As it turned out, both Fashionable Affair and Tommy Danzigger came from well off the pace to score upsets.

"The game plan was to send both horses, but fortunately the riders know better than I do," said Gilker. "They both did really good jobs when the races didn't set up the way I thought they would."

For Gilker it was easily the best weekend of a career that began in 1982. Gilker has won seven stakes in his career, but only five that he considers important. Two others came early in his career for small purses at Sandown.

Both horses came out of their races in good shape, but Gilker is turning out his stable for the winter. Last year he took a string of horses to Northern California, where he had some success, winning 5 of 31 starts at Golden Gate.

"We've had a great year here, and our horses are all used up and need the winter off," he said. "Winning the two $100,000 races last weekend was the icing on the cake."

Jordan in strong contention for Sovereign

It has been more than a quarter of a century since a Western-based trainer has won a Sovereign Award for the best trainer in Canada. The last time was in 1981, when Ron Brock won the award. Red Smith, in 1977, is the only other Western-based trainer to win the award.

Terry Jordan, who is based at Hastings, would have to be considered among the front-runners this year. After all, Jordan, who also has a string of horses at Woodbine, is the leading trainer in terms of races won in Canada this year.

As of Oct. 30, Jordan had won 69 races in Canada, six more than second-place Mark Casse. Jordan has won with an impressive 35 percent of his starters compared with 15 percent for Casse.

Casse is the leading money winner in Canada with $4,483,834 in earnings compared with $1,772,974 for Jordan. The difference is attributed to the big gap in purses between Hastings and Woodbine.

Jordan had won 35 races at Hastings and 28 at Woodbine. His win percentage at Woodbine is 38 percent. Jordan had also won five races in Alberta and he won with his only starter at Assiniboia Downs.

He is also tied with Roger Attfield for the most number of stakes wins with 12.

Jordan is obviously very pleased with the year he has had, but he does have some regrets.

"Financially it's the best year I've ever had, but I am a little disappointed with how things have gone for True Metropolitan and Dancing Allstar," he said. "We probably made a mistake taking Dancing Allstar to Florida, and True Metropolitan has just been unlucky all year. With a few breaks he would have won at least three more races."

Dancing Allstar just hasn't been the same since finishing third to Indyanne in the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes at Calder on July 12. She finished off the board in her next two starts before Jordan turned her out for the year.

True Metropolitan and Dancing Allstar were Sovereign Award winners last year and there is an outside chance True Metropolitan could win his third in a row. He would need a strong performance in the $150,000 Autumn Stakes at Woodbine on Nov. 9 to have any chance of repeating, however.

It isn't easy running a split stable, and Jordan credits a lot of his success to his assistant trainer, Anita Bolton. She is in charge of the day-to-day operations at Woodbine. Before going to work for Jordan she was a pretty successful trainer on her own, winning 18 races from 96 starts.

"I am very lucky to have her," said Jordan. "She was a very good trainer before she hooked up with me. She really loves the horses and I don't know anyone that works as hard as she does. It allows me to stay focused in Vancouver while she's taking care of things in Toronto."

Loseth hits lottery for $1.5 million

Former jockey Chris Loseth credits a lot of luck and hard work for his status as the all-time leading rider in British Columbia. Loseth is still working hard as the assistant trainer to his wife, Tracy McCarthy.

His luck certainly hasn't deserted him. Loseth won the Win'Fall Lottery on Tuesday. The winning prize is either a home package or $1.5 million.

According to McCarthy, they will probably take the money.

"We already have a nice house that we built ourselves," she said. "Chris said all he wants to do with the money is fix up the kitchen. News travels far and fast. Right after we heard about Chris winning the lottery Gary Stevens called and told us that Chris was very lucky when Chris beat him in the Longacres Mile, and that his luck is still holding out. We won't do too much with the money and we certainly won't go out and buy a $500,000 yearling."

Stevens was referring to the 1997 Longacres Mile won by Kid Katabatic. Stevens rode the odds-on favorite, Hesabull, who finished second.