10/26/2006 11:00PM

Ookashada's options are limited


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Toni Cloutier was considering asking jockey Pedro Alvarado to ease Ookashada back off of the pace when he stretches out for the first time in the $100,000-added Ascot Graduation at Hastings Sunday. But everything changed when post positions were drawn and Ookashada drew the outside post in the 1 1/16-mile feature. All 10 of the 2-year-old colts and geldings entered will carry 122 pounds.

"Our hands were kind of tied when he drew the 10 hole," she said. "I imagine Pedro will be sending him from out there."

Ookashada certainly has enough speed to make the lead. He set very fast fractions and then kept widening when he won the 6 1/2-furlong Jack Diamond Futurity by six lengths Oct. 1. If Alvarado can get him to relax during the early stages of the race, he could be very hard to catch.

Strategy for the rest of the horses in the field will play a key part in who wins the Ascot.

Kadence, Nechako, Knighthood, and Mountain Musician all have good speed, and if any of them get involved in a speed duel with Ookashada, it could set up nicely for Sin Toro.

Trained by Allan Jack, Sin Toro is the only horse in the field with a win at the distance. He came from well back to win the Canadian Juvenile at Northlands Park Oct. 9. Sin Toro will be ridden by Dave Wilson.

Off his impressive 2 3/4-length win in the New Westminster Stakes, Nechako was heavily favored to win the Jack Diamond Futurity. But he reportedly bled while finishing sixth. He'll run on Lasix for the first time in the Ascot and his trainer, Sid Martin, is also making an equipment change by adding blinkers.

"Even when he won the New Westminster he was gawking around at the quarter pole," he said. "I think with the blinkers on he'll be a lot more focused."

Nechako certainly looked like a horse that would appreciate the move to a middle distance when he came from slightly off the pace to win the New Westminster.

Kadence drew the rail and will likely try and sit just off of Ookashada. He's undefeated in two starts, and in both of his races he won from a stalking position.

Mountain Musician is still a maiden, but he finished second in the CTHS Sales Stakes Sept. 10. He tired to finish fourth after chasing Ookashada in the Futurity.