06/27/2008 11:00PM

Lord Avalon jumps into deep end


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Mike Chambers isn't quite sure what to expect when Lord Avalon takes on the top older stakes horses at Hastings in the Grade 3, $100,000 Lieutenant Governors on Tuesday.

Lord Avalon has won 3 of his 4 career starts, but all of his wins have been in conditional races; in the Lieutenant Governors, he'll be facing proven horses like multiple graded-stakes winner Spaghetti Mouse.

Lord Avalon was bought by the Three Sisters as part of a package deal from the Darley Stable. He was purchased at auction for $500,000 by Darley as a 2-year-old in 2006.

"He's an easy horse to train, but I'm not really sure if he's a stakes horse or not," Chambers said. "He's not an exceptional horse to look at, but so far he's done everything right. It's a nice purse. . . . Plus, it looks like it could be a small field."

Lord Avalon is coming off a hard-fought win over Random Memo in a one-mile $40,000 optional race at Emerald Downs on June 14. He started out his career with two wins at Turf Paradise, and his only loss came when he broke poorly in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint in his first start at Emerald Downs on May 31. A 4-year-old gelding by Yonaguska, Lord Avalon will be going around three turns for the first time in the 1 1/8-mile Lieutenant Governors.

Chambers said he will ship Lord Avalon to Hastings on the day of the race.

"He's an easy horse to get along with," Chambers said. "I don't want to bring him up a few days before the race and have him go a little dull on me. He ships well, and I'll send him up with my assistant, Carol Hubbird."

Chambers is having a phenomenal year. He has won 80 races from 188 starts, which equates to a 42 percent win rate. Although his home base is in Idaho, he has been racing mostly at Turf Paradise and Emerald Downs. He has a few horses in training in Southern California and said he might expand his presence there next winter.

"I will probably ship a few more down to Santa Anita," he said. "I'm just looking to run horses where they have decent purses."

Chambers is familiar with Hastings. He sent Humpty's Hoedown up to trainer John Morrison to win the 1993 B.C. Derby.

"I also sent a mare up there that ran last, so you never really know how it's going to work out," he said. "This might be an ambitious spot for Lord Avalon, but he's a pretty nice horse, and I think he deserves a shot."

Daymaker will try to step up

With Dancing Allstar probably heading out of town, the local 3-year-old filly division is looking for a new leader.

Trainer Dino Condilenios is hoping that Daymaker will fill the void. Daymaker was very impressive when she won her debut in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special race May 25. Condilenios shipped Daymaker to Stampede Park for her second start, and she ran a bit greenly but still almost won the $75,000 Penny Ridge Stakes, losing by a neck to Lady Lev. Daymaker will likely be one of the favorites when she runs in the $50,000 Supernaturel Stakes next Saturday.

"I think she's cut out to be a pretty nice filly," Condilenios said. "It was a lot to ask of her to ship all the way to Calgary for just her second start, but she ran a really good race and she handled the whole situation very well. With a little luck, she probably would have won the race, and it didn't seem to take a lot out of her."

According to Condilenios, Daymaker has been fighting a shin problem all year, but it doesn't seem to bother her when she's training or when she runs in the afternoon.

"If you touch her shin, she flinches, but she doesn't seem to notice it when she's on the track," Condelinios said. "I've had it X-rayed a bunch of times and nothing shows up. Her exercise rider says she couldn't be going any better. Really, it's all a bit puzzling."

A Kentucky-bred by Fusaichi Pegasus, Daymaker appears to have a bright future. Condilenios's enthusiasm about her potential is somewhat tempered, but he is certainly high on her.

"It's too early to get carried away about her yet," he said. "But she has a lot of natural ability, and I think she's going to end up being a pretty nice filly around here."

Condilenios also is planning on running Gondola in the Supernaturel. Gondola has good speed, and that is the main reason she'll be in the race.

"I want to make sure there's an honest pace," Condilenios said. "Especially, if they change their plans and Dancing Allstar ends up running here."