07/14/2009 11:00PM

Otero looks sharp for opener


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The most interesting race on the Friday-night card at Hastings, which begins at 7:15 p.m., is the first race.

The six-furlong maiden special weight race for 2-year-old fillies drew eight horses, and a first-time starter, Otero, looks like the one to beat.

A Kentucky-bred filly by Honour and Glory, Otero was entered in the $50,000 Boulevard Casino Stakes last Saturday, but her trainer, Dave Forster, scratched her from the also-eligible list. The first turn on this track comes up pretty quick, and Forster wasn't sure what kind of trip Otero would have had if she had drawn into the race and had to break from an outside post.

"I scratched her not long after they drew post positions," said Forster. "It's tough on any horse out there, especially a baby making their first start."

Forster purchased Otero for the Tres Hombres Stable as a yearling for $14,000 out of the Keeneland September sale last year. She is out of the Dance Brightly mare Divot Doll.

"I bought two horses that had similar breeding," he said. "I paid $7,000 for Diva Ballerina, who is also by Honour and Glory out of a Dance Brightly mare. They were 12 hip numbers apart in the sale. I own Diva Ballerina, so it's not surprising that Otero is far and away the best."

Otero has impressed the clockers at Hastings, and she has outworked a couple of Forster's older horses. She will be ridden by Frank Fuentes.

Chili Sauce is a half-sister to $710,157 multiple stakes winner Free Vacation. Her trainer, Richard Cloutier, thinks she might need a race before she's ready for her best.

"She's doing really well, but she's a bit of a nervous filly, and she doesn't leave the starting gate very quickly," said Cloutier. "Hopefully she'll be able to pick up horses after she comes out of there."

Chili Sauce is owned by her breeder, Black Canyon Thoroughbreds Ltd. Black Canyon also bred Free Vacation. She will be ridden by Robert Skelly.

Delta Bouquet looked very sharp in her five-furlong work in 1:00.20 on July 1, and she followed her strong move with an easy five-furlong move on July 11. She is by Stephanotis, who is a decent debut sire, and one of her siblings, Delta Lassie, won her debut at 2.

Delta Bouquet is trained by Don Morison and will be ridden by Pedro Alvarado.

Firm Gold closed strongly to finish third when she debuted in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden claiming race for $12,500 on June 19 and should appreciate the extra distance.