07/18/2006 11:00PM

Mighty Cahill shows his stuff


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Mighty Cahill finally lived up to the promise he showed when he won a maiden special weight race by 11 lengths in his debut as a 2-year-old last September. Under a heady ride by apprentice Mario Gutierrez, Mighty Cahill came from slightly off the pace to win the Burnaby Breeders' Cup by a widening 4 3/4 lengths last Saturday and stamped himself as a serious contender for the Grade 2, $250,000 B.C. Derby Sept. 24.

Mighty Cahill, who paid $5.20, is trained by Harold Barroby, who bought the Washington-bred for $6,200 as a weanling in 2003. Mighty Cahill looked like he could be any kind when he romped to his easy win in his debut, but the Burnaby was his first stakes win. Barroby is hoping it won't be his last.

"I really like the way he's developing," said Barroby. "He's just really coming around now. He's eating better and putting on more weight. I'm just very pleased with him right now."

Mighty Cahill came into the Burnaby with a very good record. The only time he had been off the board in eight previous starts was in the Alberta Derby, where he had a rough trip and finished fifth.

"He's been right there every time," said Barroby. "What I really liked about his race in the Burnaby is how fast he ran the last eighth. They went kind of slow up front, but he really came home fast."

The fractions and final time for the 1 1/16-mile Burnaby were 23.98, 47.74, 1:13.04, 1:39.14, and 1:45.80.

Being a Washington-bred, Mighty Cahill isn't eligible to the B.C. Cup Stallion Stakes on Aug. 7. Barroby might not start Mighty Cahill until the $300,000 Canadian Derby Aug. 26 at Northlands Park.

"There's nothing here for him, and I don't want to over-race him anyway," said Barroby. "It's a long way away, but I'll probably just train him into the race."

Barroby, 61, is the all-time leading trainer at Hastings in both wins and stakes wins. He won the 1975 Canadian Derby with Pampas Host when it was restricted to Canadian-breds.

"It was a lot easier race to win back then," said Barroby. "I think the horses they have back there now are pretty nice 3-year-olds, but I don't know if they can go a mile and three-eighths. I'm pretty sure Mighty Cahill can."

Mighty Cahill earned $34,560 on Saturday, which brings his total earnings to $109,593. He's owned by Barroby and his wife, Sandra.

The Burnaby was the first stakes win at Hastings for Gutierrez. He was a last-minute replacement for Carlos Silva, who injured his ribs when he came off a horse pulling up after a race Friday night. Silva has been named on mounts this weekend and is expected to ride.

Tough break followed by big win

Trainer Barb Heads had what she called "an emotional roller-coaster ride" last weekend. Things started off badly when Heads had to scratch Halo Steven in the Burnaby. Halo Steven was the heavy favorite on the tote board, but he never made it to the paddock.

"He was fine in the morning, but he took a bad step when he came out of his stall just prior to the race," Heads said. "I had the paddock vet come and look at him and we had to scratch him. He burst a pus pocket and it was just a matter of bad timing. I talked to his assistant trainer in California and he said his feet have always been a bit of a problem. He should be fine, but it just alters his schedule a bit."

Heads was back on top Sunday when Excited Miss upset the odds-on favorite, Sophie's Trophy, in the Emerald Downs Handicap at Hastings. Excited Miss was the second choice in the wagering and paid $5.80 to win.

Excited Miss stalked a slow pace set by No Ka Oi and then drew off in the stretch to easily handle a fast-closing Sophie's Trophy by four lengths.

"I wasn't sure how the race would unfold with only four horses in the race," she said. "We expected to stalk No Ka Oi and it worked out perfectly."

Pedro Alvarado was aboard Excited Miss for the first time, and she surprised him a bit with her strong performance.

"She didn't show me that much when I worked her before the race," he said. "She was a completely different horse when it came time to race, though."

Heads said that Excited Miss came out of her race in excellent shape and would make her next start in the B.C. Cup Stallion Stakes on Aug. 2.

Sophie's Trophy was trapped down on the rail behind a slow pace for most of the race, and by the time she got off the rail it was too late to make any serious run at Excited Miss.

According to her trainer, Janet Armstrong, Sophie's Trophy could make her next start in the Washington Breeders' Cup Oaks on Aug. 19.