09/29/2004 11:00PM

Notis Otis tops Futurity cast

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Undefeated Notis Otis deserves to be favored over eight other 2-year-old colts and geldings in the 75th running of the Jack Diamond Futurity at Hastings Saturday.

The fillies division, the Sadie Diamond Futurity, drew 10 horses, and two-time stakes winner Backseat Becka looks like a solid choice there. Each race is at 6 1/2 furlongs, restricted to Canadian-breds, and worth $100,000.

Notis Otis hasn't lost, but he hasn't exactly overwhelmed his opposition, either. The combined margin of his three wins is just 2 1/4 lengths, and he was all out to defeat Speed Victor in the B.C. Cup Nursery Aug. 2. Speed Victor drew the rail in the Futurity.

Since the Nursery, Notis Otis has had four solid works, including a bullet half-mile move in 46.60 seconds on Tuesday. He's owned by Canmor Farms and Tracy McCarthy.

McCarthy is also the trainer of Notis Otis and she likes the way he's coming into the race.

"He's just a real professional, and he's done everything right from day one," she said. "I don't think he's the kind of horse that is going to win by a lot because he really likes the competition. But it's going to take a good horse to beat him."

McCarthy was pleased with his work Tuesday.

"He did it really easily and it was hard to keep him on the ground when we walked him following the work," she said. "Actually, the only thing he does wrong is walk. He's just too full of himself and we have to use a lip chain to keep him under control."

Notis Otis will be ridden by McCarthy's husband, Chris Loseth.

Run On looks like the main threat to Notis Otis. A son of On Target, Run On finished four lengths behind Notis Otis in the Nursery Stakes, but that was his debut race and he's improved dramatically in his next two starts. He finished second to stakes winner One Special Hoss in a maiden special weight race Aug. 15, then came from off the pace to win the CTHS Sales Stakes Sept. 11. There is plenty of speed in the field, and the race could set up nicely for Run On.

* Backseat Becka has won her last two starts, both stakes, and she figures to be a solid favorite over nine other fillies in the Sadie Diamond. Backseat Becka was a longshot when she won the B.C. Cup Debutante Aug. 2, but was second choice in the wagering when she beat After the Knight in the CTHS Sales Stakes Sept. 11. Backseat Becka has come from well off the pace in both of her wins, and with a lively pace expected Saturday, the race should set up perfectly for her.

She's trained by Terry Clyde and will be ridden by David Wilson.

A lot of the early lick will be provided by Avenging Kat, who came close to the track record for 3 1/2 furlongs in her only start.