09/28/2005 11:00PM

No Ka Oi tries to live up to name


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - In Hawaiian, No Ka Oi means "is the best." Trainer Rob Gilker hopes that it will be a literal translation when he saddles No Ka Oi in the $100,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity at Hastings on Saturday. On paper, No Ka Oi does look the best, and she figures to be a solid favorite in the 6 1/2-furlong fixture, which drew 11 horses. The race is restricted to 2-year-old fillies foaled in Canada.

No Ka Oi, who will be ridden by Frank Fuentes, is coming off of a very impressive win in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race Aug. 19. Her final time of 1:17.86 is the fastest time at the meet for a 2-year-old filly, and she wasn't hard-used when she drew away in the stretch. She earned a 70 Beyer Speed Figure, which is 18 points higher than the best Beyer of her rivals in the Futurity.

Before her strong maiden win, No Ka Oi finished a half-length behind Excited Miss in the British Columbia Cup Debutante. Since her win, she's trained sensationally, particularly her bullet five-furlong work in 59.40 seconds last Saturday. No Ka Oi drew the rail, and according to Gilker there's not much choice when it comes to strategy.

"We'll be sending," he said. "After that, we'll leave it up to Frank."

Miss Me Not, trained by John Snow, is the only stakes winner in the field. She came from last to win the CTHS Sales Stakes Sept. 11, and there should be an honest enough pace Saturday to set up her good late kick.