07/01/2004 12:00AM

Montero stands out as 2-year-old stakes begin

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The 2-year-olds here will get their first shot at stakes money July 17. Nominations close on Wednesday for the Ladnesian for colts and geldings and the Timber Music for fillies.

Montero should have a big edge in the Timber Music. A daughter of Louis Quatorze, she was a game winner of a six-furlong maiden special weight race last Saturday, and that gives her the distinction of being the lone 2-year-old at Hastings with a win going around two turns.

According to her owner, Ole Nielsen of Canmor Farms, Montero came out of the race in excellent shape and is being pointed to the Timber Music. In a rare occurrence, Nielson wasn't on hand to watch Montero race.

"For the first time in roughly 30 years I took a vacation during the racing season," said Nielsen, an owner and a trainer. "So I didn't get to see the race, but I wasn't surprised that she won. We really like her, and I like another one called Monashee who just worked five furlongs Thursday morning. She's ready to run and she should be in the next race that fills."

Over the years Nielsen has had tremendous success with fillies - Lasting Code, Lasting Light, and Everlasting - to name a few, but he thinks he has some pretty good colts to go along with Monashee and Montero this year.

"I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season," he said. "We have three really nice colts. Notis Otis broke his maiden going 3 1/2 furlongs. He's by Stephanotis out of Skyborne, and we have another Stephanotis that can really run, called Delta Monarch. He should work this weekend and should be ready to go.

"Plus [there's] a colt by Yoonevano named Hotenuforyoo. He was named by jockey Chris Loseth, who works together with us. We're kind of excited about our 2-year-olds this year. After a few years' absence we might be back."

Vic's Sweety looking good

Owner-trainer Tom Longstaff has solid lifetime numbers with 2-year-olds, 18 wins and 13 seconds from 89 starts, including three stakes wins. But he has really been hot the last couple of seasons, winning with over 26 percent of his 2-year-old starters.

Earlier in the meet he won a 3 1/2-furlong race with Vic's Sweety, who looked good working five furlongs in 1:00.80 Thursday. She also is being pointed to the Timber Music.

"I was pleased with the work," said Longstaff. "She galloped out nicely and we'll see how she comes out of it tomorrow. If all is well, I should be able to get one more good work into her before she runs."

Longstaff has entered Dancewithavictor in a 6 1/2-furlong claiming race Saturday and the 7-year-old gelding should be favored. Don't put too much into the fact that his usual rider, Pedro Alvarado, isn't aboard. Longstaff wasn't happy with the way Alvarado's agent, Trapper Barroby, took Alvarado off Louie Downtown to ride Tobe Suave in the Burnaby Stakes.

"Trapper told me he was going to ride 'Louie' in the Burnaby, but at the last minute he picked up another mount and left me in the ditch," Longstaff said. "To add insult, he told me he could cover the mount with Gerry Olguin, who is coming in to ride Royal Place in the Lieutenant Governors'. That was fine, but when he asked me to split the airfare . . . I thought that was enough. So they're out of my barn for now."

Barroby had to make some tough choices about who Alvarado should ride this weekend, and it's hard to criticize his decisions.

Tobe Suave likely will be favored in the Burnaby.

"I have to ride the best horse," said Barroby. "When you have the best rider you can't ride every horse for a certain stable. I'm sorry that Tom's upset, but I can't turn down a horse that could be the best 3-year-old in Western Canada. Hopefully, I can make it up to him later."