10/21/2005 12:00AM

Local Hall-of-Famer Jack high on Regal Request

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Allan Jack should know a good horse when he sees one. After all, he trained two of the best horses that ever ran at Hastings, Strawberry Morn and Mike K.

Jack thinks that Regal Request, while still a long way from being considered in the same league as those two, is a good one. Regal Request should be one of the favorites in the $75,000 Ascot Graduation Stakes at Hastings Sunday.

"He's really starting to click in," said Jack. "I really liked the way he ran in his last race."

Jack was referring to Regal Request's win in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race Aug. 10 when he easily handled stakes winner Feu Express.

Regal Request has been somewhat of a project for Jack. A homebred son of Regal Intention, Regal Request has shown plenty of talent but he hasn't always been completely focused in his races. He probably would have won a $50,000 optional race earlier in the meet, but for some reason he pulled himself up at the quarter pole. Then after realizing the race wasn't over, he rallied to finish a close third.

"He's done just about everything you could imagine," said Jack. "He's bolted, pulled himself up, and he almost had his number taken down when he bore out in another race. But he seems to be on track now."

Jack, 71, was inducted into the local horseracing Hall of Fame in 2000. He saddled his first race winner in 1959. Since then, he consistently has won races at a high percentage. From statistics compiled by Daily Racing Form, Jack has started 2,342 horses and has won 452 races, which equates to roughly 19 percent winners.

Strawberry Morn and Mike K were his best horses. Strawberry Morn won more than $500,000, and she came very close to beating the boys in the 1996 British Columbia Derby, finishing third by just a neck and a head behind Newdigs and Timely Stitch.

Mike K won 13 races and $422,880 - and in what was probably his best race, he finished a close second to Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up, Budroyale in the Longacres Mile. Another horse Jack trained was Warner Pass, who won 18 races at Hastings.

Jack grew up in the Commercial Drive area of Vancouver, which is just a couple of miles from Hastings, and he started galloping horses at the track when he was 12. He tried his hand at riding, but says now, "I was terrible and I'm still a maiden."

He still lives near the track in a house he bought in 1970 for $14,000. With housing prices averaging about $500,000 in his neighborhood, you would have to say it was a pretty good investment.

"The only reason I bought it was so that I could walk to work," he said. "A lot of the other trainers I knew bought out in the valley. But I didn't want to commute, and with the traffic as bad as it is now and gas prices being what they are, I'm glad I stayed in Vancouver. Plus, while many people thought the track might move, I always thought it would stay here."

Jack doesn't show any of the effects of a heart attack he had four years ago. Under doctor's orders, he keeps fit by walking most of the horses he trains and during the off-season, he walks close to six miles a day.

"I feel great," he said. "When the season is over I'll walk for about an hour and a half a day to stay in shape. During the racing season, I get plenty of exercise at the track, so I just relax when I get home."

He also is happy to have a horse like Regal Request to train at this stage in his career.

"He could be a real good one," he said. "I think he's finally on the right track, and if he stays focused he should run a good race on the weekend."

He would know.

Trainer touts Yoodaman

Trainer Robert Gilker thinks Yoodaman could pull off an upset in the Ascot Graduation. Although Yoodaman is still a maiden and finished sixth in the Jack Diamond Futurity, he lost by only 1 3/4 lengths while racing extremely wide most of the way. Gilker also said that Yoodaman, who was ridden by Jake Barton, hated the track.

"If the track was fast I'm pretty sure he would have won," said Gilker. "Jake said he was struggling with the track the whole way and considering how wide he went, that wasn't a bad race at all. Jake also thinks he'll love going a distance."

Yoodaman should get a better trip in the Ascot. He drew the rail and he should be able to save ground during the early stages at least.

* There's not much doubt that Justin Stein is going to set a record for the most wins by an apprentice at Hastings. He leads the jockey standings with 119 wins and with an abundance of live mounts lined up over the next couple of days, there's a very good chance he'll eclipse the record of 123 wins by an apprentice this weekend. Dave Wilson set the record and won the Sovereign Award for the top apprentice in Canada in 1995.