10/29/2009 11:00PM

Little suspense left for many year-end awards

Four-Footed Fotos
Teide is expected to collect top older handicap horse honors this year.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - It isn't hard to predict who will be taking home the trophies at the annual awards dinner that will be held at The Derby Bar and Grill on Dec. 12.

In most, but not all categories, there are clear-cut winners. Beginning with the older handicap division, Teide is a standout. Trained by Dino Condilenios, Teide completely dominated his opponents in the S.W. Randall Plate and the Sir Winston Churchill. He also won the $101,000 Lieutenant Governors, and with a clean trip he might have won the Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs. Teide closed out the year with a head loss to Trick of the North in the 1 3/8-mile Premiers, but that won't stop him from being named the top older horse in the province. He also is the leading candidate to be named horse of the year.

"He's a pretty special horse," Condilenios said. "I'm looking forward to bringing him back next year."

Condilenios hasn't ruled out shipping Teide to Woodbine to run in the Grade 2, $150,000 Autumn Stakes on Nov. 14. Teide is owned by Swift Thoroughbreds Inc.

"We'll talk it over this weekend," Condilenios said. "He is doing very well right now, so if it isn't too tough of a spot, we'll probably go."

Teide's loss to Trick of the North in the Premiers opened up the possibility for Huitzilopochtli to win horse of the year honors. Huitzilopochtli's chances diminished when he finished seventh in the $107,000 Ascot Graduation last Sunday. Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine him not being named the top 2-year-old in the province. He also is the leading candidate for the B.C.-bred horse of the year. Owned and trained by Juan Olmos, Huitzilopochtli rattled off four straight stakes wins before running poorly over a sloppy track when he stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in the Ascot. The only other 2-year-old males to win stakes at the meet were Silly Fella in the Jack Diamond Futurity and Dyna Stroll in the Ascot.

The 2-year-old filly division is probably the toughest to call. Otero, trained by Dave Forster, may have been the best filly on the grounds but she only ran twice.

Vying Ty Grr was the only double stakes winner, but Otero easily handled her in the Lassie and she flopped as the heavy chalk in the Fantasy.

Victorious Vye was the most consistent horse, with a win in the CTHS Sales Stakes and second-place finishes in the Sadie Diamond Futurity and Fantasy.

To be eligible for an award, a horse has to start just once at the meet. Winning Machine's win in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby should be good enough for him to take home honors as the top 3-year-old. Based at Emerald Downs with trainer Doris Harwood, Winning Machine also won the Emerald Derby and the Tacoma Handicap at his home track.

Tommy Danzigger should get the nod as the top B.C.-bred 3-year-old. He won the B.C. Cup Stellar's Jay here and the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park. His dull seventh-place finish in the B.C. Derby could cost him the open title, however.

Another category with a standout is the 3-year-old filly division. La Rocca was an easy winner of the $122,000 British Columbia Oaks and she also ran a big race to finish second behind Holy Nova when she tried older fillies and mares in the Grade 3 Ballerina. Trained by Terry Jordan, La Rocca also won the $75,000 Sonoma Handicap at Northlands Park.

Holy Nova's win in the Ballerina guarantees her the older filly and mare award. Trained by Troy Taylor, Holy Nova also won the Vancouver Sun and the Strawberry Morn.

Trainer Rob Gilker did a great job of managing Bank Emblem this year, and his decision to keep him sprinting in his last two starts will earn Bank Emblem the sprinter of the year award. In his last two races, Bank Emblem came from off the pace to win the PNE Presidents Speed and the Express Handicap. Both races were at six furlongs. He also won the 1 1/16-mile John Longden.

Trainer Frank Barroby also will be honored at the awards dinner. Barroby, 66, was recently voted into the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Barroby was the leading trainer here three times and is the only person to be both a leading trainer and jockey at Hastings.

There is no drama going into the final two days of racing regarding the jockey and trainer races.

Jockey Fernando Perez got off to a hot start and never looked back. With 101 wins, he has a clear lead over Mario Gutierrez who has won 75 races. It will be the first riding title for Perez.

Trainer Troy Taylor will win his third straight trainers' title with 51 wins, 12 more than Barbara Heads. Taylor also was the leading trainer here in 1963.

Taylor trains for Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella who have won 17 wins at the meet, two more than Swift Thoroughbreds Inc.