07/06/2010 11:00PM

Pacheco trying his luck out West

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Apprentice jockey Ryan Pacheco is hoping that moving his tack to Hastings will help land him a lot more live mounts than he was getting at Woodbine. Pacheco was one of 15 apprentices at Woodbine. At Hastings, Taletha Wyatt and Geovanni Franco are the only bug riders currently plying their trade, and unless Franco gets an extension, he will lose his apprentice status soon. At Woodbine this year, Pacheco won three races from 76 mounts.

Pacheco, 27, was born and raised in Toronto, but he had never been to the track until he was 18.

"I started going to the track with my friends to bet on horses then, and we all really enjoyed it," Pacheco said. "We really got into it for a while, and someone from the track approached me and said I was the perfect size to ride. When they told me about the money I could make, it really got me interested."

According to his agent, Travis Barroby, Pacheco tacks roughly 105 pounds.

Pacheco started his career at Woodbine as a hot walker for trainer Rod Sadler. He also spent some time as a groom for Reade Baker. He eventually graduated to galloping horses and three years ago, he enrolled in Chris McCarron's North American Riding Academy in Lexington, Ky. He graduated last year. As part of the program, he also did an internship in England with trainer John Gosden.

Pacheco rode his first horse at Churchill Downs and his first winner came at Hoosier Park in his eighth career start while still enrolled at the academy. It didn't take him long to notch his second win at Mountaineer Park a couple of days later.

"I wanted to ride in Kentucky so I could be under the watchful eye of Chris who could watch and critique me," Pacheco said. "I was based at a training center, and we would ship out to tracks nearby like Ellis Park and River Downs."

Gerry Olguin, who was the leading rider at Hastings in 1997 and 1998 before moving to Woodbine, encouraged Pacheco to give Vancouver a try.

"I was looking at different race tracks in the states and here in Canada and I was mostly checking on the size of the jockey colony and how many apprentices were riding," Pacheco said. "My friend Gerry Olguin told me about coming here and that it might be really good for me."

Pacheco arrived in Vancouver on Monday and has shown a strong work ethic, working several horses Tuesday and Wednesday. He'll ride his first race here Friday in the third race aboard Guns N Gold.

B.C. Derby draws 40 early nominations

For the first time in its history, the Grade 3, $150,000 British Columbia Derby had early closing nominations. The derby closed July 1 with 40 horses nominated at $100 each.

The derby is scheduled for Sept. 26, and horses that didn't make the early closing can be supplemented for $1,000.

If the race were run next week, Chief Counsel would be a heavy favorite and trainer Terry Jordan said he is already pointing to the race. Chief Counsel was recently purchased by local owner Peter Redekop. In his first start for Jordan and Redekop, he won a first-level allowance race at Woodbine with a 90 Beyer Speed Figure on June 20. He was coming off of a fourth-place finish for Bill Mott in the Grade 2 Lexington at Keeneland.

"Mr. Redekop bought Chief Counsel with the explicit goal of winning the Manitoba, Canadian, and B.C. Derby," Jordan said. "If all goes well, we're definitely coming to Vancouver with him."

Dyna Stroll, who figures to be favored in the $50,000 Chris Loseth on Sunday, heads the local contingent.

Swift Thoroughbreds Inc. has nominated seven horses to the race, and all of them have a long way to go before they make it to the race. Trainer Dino Condilenios thinks the best one of the lot is Crew Leader, who scored an impressive win when he debuted in a maiden special weight race June 20. Ain certainly caught a lot of people's attention when he finished full of run in a maiden special weight race while ending up second in his debut last Sunday.

"Crew Leader could be a nice one," Condilenios said. "I was planning on running him on Friday, but he got a little sick and I had to back off of him. Ain was pretty impressive, too, but I still think Crew Leader is the best one in the barn."

Trainer Doris Harwood has nominated Emerald Downs stakes winner Koala Beach. Harwood finished first and third with Winning Machine and Noosa Beach in last year's derby.