10/27/2005 11:00PM

Langara Lass clinches crown


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - At least one and possibly two divisional championships in the province were wrapped up last weekend.

Langara Lass solidified her spot as the top 3-year-old filly in the province with a comfortable 4 1/4-length win over Miss Me Not in the Fantasy Stakes Saturday. Regal Request staked his claim to the 2-year-old colts and geldings title with a front-running win in the Ascot Graduation Stakes Sunday.

For Langara Lass, it was a third stakes win at the meet, and she clearly stands heads and tails above the rest of the fillies at Hastings. She picked up $63,300 for her win, making her total earnings this year $115,543.

Langara Lass is trained by Dave Forster, who also trained the dam of Langara Lass, Capilano, who won the Fantasy in 1996.

Langara Lass has been turned out for the rest of the year. "She's had a good campaign and we'll bring her back next year," Forster said. "I think she'll make a classy 3-year-old."

There was little drama in the Fantasy. Langara Lass stalked the early leaders and when her rider, Chad Hoverson, kicked her into gear at the quarter pole, it was only a question of by how much she would win.

On the other hand, Regal Request had his trainer, Allan Jack, worried about the outcome from the time the horses left the gate.

Regal Request, with David Wilson aboard, went right to the front and opened up a clear lead. When Mighty Cahill and Yoodaman took a run at him at the three-eighths pole, Jack was concerned that Regal Request might resort to some of his old bad habits.

"I thought he was going to pull himself up," said Jack. "He's done it before, and the way they came up to him so fast I thought he was stopping. But Davie said he had lots of horse and he just kept yelling at him the whole way.

"He [Wilson] was pretty tired after the race, but he said it was because of all the yelling he did. You just can't use a whip on this horse or he'll prop."

Jack said Regal Request is done for the year. He earned $74,235 for the win, which brought his earnings for the year to $138,615. It was his third straight win but his first in a stakes. He finished second by a nose in the New Westminster and third in the B.C. Cup Nursery. Both of those races were won by Lukin Awesome, and it might be tough to separate the two when voters decide who will be the local 2-year-old champ. A strong point in Regal Request's favor is his stakes win came at a route and, usually, the Ascot winner receives special attention.

Regal Request hasn't been the only project for Jack this year. When Frankie's Knight won his debut in a maiden special weight race in May, Jack thought he might have a potential B.C. Derby candidate.

But Frankie's Knight has started only once since, finishing third in a $50,000 optional race Oct. 2. Jack will try stretching him out in Sunday's eighth race, an allowance for 3-year-olds that haven't won a stakes this year.

"I certainly had derby on my mind with him from day one," said Jack. "But he developed quarter cracks, and it's been a real struggle to get him back to the races."

Jack would have liked to get more than one race into Frankie's Knight before the stretch-out, but he flipped at the gate and was scratched when he brought him back for a start in early September.

"That was another setback," said Jack. "I'm pretty sure he'll be a good horse going a route, and he's certainly bred for it. He's giving away a lot of experience in Sunday's race, and I'm not really sure if he's ready for this or not. He certainly has the talent, though."

* A final hurdle for slots at Hastings seemingly was passed when the City of Vancouver's Development Permit Board approved its application for slots at a meeting last Monday. The board added some amendments to the application, however, and management at Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, the parent company of Hastings, is mulling over the additions. Construction of the slots floor could begin in November, with slots up and running as early as April.