04/27/2006 11:00PM

Journey to B.C. Derby begins in Klondike


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The local 3-year-olds will start the long process of sorting out the major contenders for the Grade 3, $250,000-added British Columbia Derby in September when they run in the $50,000 Klondike Stakes at Hastings, the meet's first stakes race for their age group next Saturday.

A total of 19 horses have been nominated to the 6 1/2-furlong Klondike and notably absent is last year's local 2-year-old champion, Regal Request.

According trainer Allan Jack, Regal Request had a chip removed from one of his ankles last winter, and is still a couple of months away from his first start.

"He's training well enough, but he came in late and he'll probably have his first work in a couple of weeks," Jack said. "Depending on how everything goes, it will take about six weeks from there to get him up to a race."

Bound to be M V P was also nominated but, according to trainer Brian Giesbrecht, he is not going to run.

Bound to be M V P won all three of his starts at Hastings, including the Ladnesian Stakes last July. Following the Ladnesian, he was turned out for the rest of the summer and resurfaced in the San Miguel Stakes at Santa Anita where he finished third in an 11-horse field to Too Much Bling. He also ran into the speedy Too Much Bling while running fifth in the Grade 2 San Vicente on Feb. 12.

"Those were tough races so we wanted to freshen him up before we brought him back up here," Giesbrecht said. "He's enjoying himself on the farm, and it shouldn't take long to get him ready to run when he comes back."

That leaves an interesting group of horses for the Klondike. Trainers Troy Taylor, Janet Armstrong, and Terry Jordan have nominated and are planning to enter horses they would prefer to run in high-priced claiming or conditional allowance races. Nevertheless, their horses were recently claimed in California, and there is a rule that stipulates horses claimed there can't run in another jurisdiction until 60 days after the meet closes - unless it's a stakes race.

Taylor has nominated three horses he claimed at Golden Gate - Anziyan Flyer, Windy Day, and Winter Warning.

"I'll probably run Winter Warning in the Klondike and possibly the other two in a stakes at Stampede Park," Taylor said.

Winter Warning has started only three times, but earned an 85 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in a $32,000 maiden race on March 17, and that is the best Beyer of any of the likely starters in the Klondike.

Armstrong is planning to run Potrero Station. A Kentucky-bred, Potrero Station finished second in a $32,000 claiming race at Golden Gate on April 6. He won a $40,000 starter race at Bay Meadows in his previous start. He looked good working five furlongs in 1:00.80 Friday morning at Hastings.

"He seems like a handy horse," Armstrong said. "But he wouldn't be in the Klondike if he didn't have to."

Jordan's problem is worse. One of the horses he has nominated, Tabor, was claimed out of a $62,500 maiden race on April 14 at Santa Anita, where he ran a dull fifth. Still, Jordan also has nominated the likely favorite, Halo's Storm.

A Florida-bred, Halo's Storm won a $25,000 maiden race at Gulfstream Feb. 6 and then shipped to Santa Anita and beat $40,000 starter horses on March 18. It appeared he was home a winner and cooled out when he ran in a $50,000 optional claiming race at Hastings on April 15, but bolted at the top of the stretch and unseated his rider, Pedro Alvarado.

"I think he was shying away from the starting gate," Alvarado said. "He was going to win very easily. I hadn't even asked him to run yet."

"He came back fine," Jordan said. "They'll be going 6 1/2 furlongs, and since the gate is back in the chute and he won't see it when he comes around the turn, he shouldn't have any trouble getting around there."

According to trainer Terry Clyde, Lukin Awesome, who survived being attacked by a bear when he was a weanling, "had a much quieter winter," and is set to run in the Klondike.

A homebred gelding, Lukin Awesome won the B.C. Cup Nursery and New Westminster Stakes last year. He also finished second by a head to Sungold Wonder in the Jack Diamond Futurity.

* The public relations department at Hastings may have jumped the gun a little when it issued a press release saying that Cause to Believe was planning to run in the B.C. Derby. Cause to Believe is slated to run in the Kentucky Derby next Saturday and if he manages to win there, his connections will likely be looking at a summer schedule that doesn't include a stop at Hastings.