10/01/2009 11:00PM

'No sale' turns into good deal


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Luck goes a long way in the up and down business of horse racing. What seemed like a bad deal at the time could turn out to be a big break for owner-breeder Mike Anderson when he runs Clear to Canada in the $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity at Hastings Sunday.

Last year, Anderson was forced to withdraw Clear to Canada from the local Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's yearling and mixed sale when he came down with a virus just before the sale. At the time Clear to Canada's half-brother El Sinaloense was dominating the 2-year-old stakes division at Hastings, and Anderson figured to get a nice dollar for Clear to Canada, a son of Storm Victory.

"Not going through the sale could turn out all right," said Anderson. "You just never know how things are going to work out. This guy turned out to be a pretty nice horse."

Anderson bought the dam of Clear to Canada, Ayne Z., for $4,000 out of the 2005 Barrett's fall sale. He made the purchase from the comfort of his living room, using the Internet to place his bid. She was in foal to Mud Route, whom Anderson liked as a sire, plus he had seen her second foal, Northern Ayne, run at Hastings. She was trained by Dennis Terry.

"I was watching that filly Dennis had," said Anderson. "She wasn't very big but she was good enough to win a maiden allowance race going six and one-half furlongs. She might have been small but she could run and seemed to have a lot of heart."

Northern Ayne ended up winning five races for a total of $55,229 in earnings.

The third foal out of Ayne Z. is El Sinaloense, who was the champion 2-year-old at Hastings in 2008. Juan Olmos bought him out of the 2007 sale from Anderson for $9,500. So far El Sinaloense has earned $159,283.

Anderson likes the way Clear to Canada is coming up to Sunday's race.

"He's feeling great right now," said Anderson. "He trained early this morning, and he still has a lot of buck in him. One more day of galloping and then hopefully he'll be ready for the big day."

Anderson's partner, and the trainer of Clear to Canada, Terry Clyde, won't be on hand to see the race. She is on vacation in Italy and will probably watch the race over the Internet.

"It will be about 3 in the morning there when the race goes, but I'm pretty sure she'll stay awake to watch the race," said Anderson.

Clyde and Anderson have never won the Futurity, but they came within a head when Lukin Awesome was nipped at the wire by Sungold Wonder in 2005. Sungold Wonder was trained by Barbara Heads, Anderson's sister.

"We have had a few seconds and thirds, but we've never won the race," said Anderson. "My sister nosed us out that one year, and that's the closest we've come."

Regardless of how Clear to Canada runs on Sunday, it's been a good year for Anderson. He sold a half-sister to Clear to Canada by Mazel Trick for $43,000 at this year's sale.

Wilson anticipates returning soon

With Pedro Alvarado out for the year with two broken collar bones and Dave Wilson still in the hospital with acute pancreatitis, the jockey colony at Hastings is down to 13 riders this weekend.

If everything goes well, Wilson could be back riding next weekend.

"It looks like everything is headed in the right direction," said Wilson. "If they release me this weekend I'll be out to watch the races, and hopefully I'll be back in business soon."

According to jockey agent Bob Fowlis, Quincy Welch will help fill the shortage when Northlands Park closes on Oct. 12. Fowlis was out to watch the Grade 3, $275,000 British Columbia Derby last Sunday.

"It looks like we'll come out there when Northlands closes," said Fowlis. "I had a lot of trainers ask me about bringing him out when I was there last weekend, so he should have plenty of business."

Fowlis also said it is also possible Shannon Beauregard will also be coming out for the remainder of the meet.

"She did pretty good out there last year," he said. "She still hasn't made up her mind but I think she's leaning in coming back.

Welch sits in second place in the standings behind Ricky Walcott at Northlands. Beauregard is fourth.

Championship qualifier

Registration began this weekend for the qualifying tournament to the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapping Championship that will be held in Las Vegas in January 2010.

The Hastings qualifying tournament, on Oct. 18, will be limited to 150 contestants. The first three finishers will receive an all-expense paid trip to the National Handicapping Championship, where the total prize money is expected to be $1 million. If the local contest is fully subscribed, the winner will take home $10,800.