06/24/2001 11:00PM

Juvenile stakes start early

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Two-year-olds get their first crack at stakes this Sunday as the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society puts on both divisions of the Sales Stakes. Both races will be run at 6 1/2 furlongs.

At a recently held informational meeting put on by the Pacific Racing Association, Greg MacDonald, director of racing, fielded complaints about the early scheduling of the Sales Stakes. He explained that in order to fit in all of the 2-year-old stakes scheduled at the meet, and to make it fair to the non-B.C.-breds, there weren't many other options regarding the placing of the Sales Stakes.

"We would really like to have the races the day before we have our September sales," said Dixie Jacobsen, CTHS president. "There are some people that aren't happy about this year's scheduling, but there's nothing we can do about it now and you can't make everybody happy no matter what you do. We hope that we can get it set closer to our September sale next year."

One person who isn't complaining about the early date is leading trainer Harold Barroby. He trains the likely favorite in the colts and geldings division, Regal Soldier.

"I've been pointing him towards this race since early January," said Barroby. "I know some people wanted to change the date but I'm glad cooler heads prevailed and left it alone. You can't change the date of a stakes just because some people don't have their horses ready."

Regal Soldier won his last race on June 17 by a neck over highly regarded Intact and has a big edge over most of the field because he's one of only two horses that have gone farther than the Nursery Course distance of 3 1/2 furlongs. Although a neck win in a maiden race isn't anything to get overly excited about, the way Regal Soldier did it was. He went head and head with Intact for most of the way, and after falling slightly behind at the top of the stretch, he dug in and prevailed.

Regal Soldier was bought by Max Shulder (Ace Stables) for $13,500 at last year's sale and he's already earned $15,400. He should add a significant amount to his total on Sunday. "He came out of his race just fine," said Barroby. "He's trained well since then and he should run another good race this weekend."

One horse he won't have to contend with is Crimson Mint, who was a very impressive winner on the Nursery Course June 20. Crimson Mint broke on top and then cruised to a 3 3/4-length victory.

"We didn't really have him all cranked up for the race," said trainer Cindy Krasner. "We just wanted to get a start into him and then get him ready to go further."

Crimson Mint is a B.C.-bred but he was bought in Washington by Mike Jawl and isn't eligible for the Sales Stakes.