10/14/2009 11:00PM

Rest, then work for Blue Sky Holiday


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer John Snow credits the good life at the farm for the success of Blue Sky Holiday, who will be one of the favorites in the Grade 3, $125,000 Ballerina at Hastings on Saturday.

Snow conditions a lot of his horses on the half-mile training track at a farm he owns in Aldergrove, a suburb of Vancouver. The more relaxed situation doesn't suit every horse, but, according to Snow, Blue Sky Holiday thrives there.

"She loves it on the farm," said Snow. "The best thing about it is that you can do anything you want with her at home. I'll let her relax for a half-hour or so in one of the paddocks before she trains. You can back-track or jog. Just let her do what she wants to do. When I bring her back to Hastings for more serious training, she's ready to go."

Blue Sky Holiday became a graded stakes winner when she won the Grade 3 British Columbia Oaks last year and finished third behind Against the Sky in her next race, the 2008 Ballerina.

She comes into Saturday's Ballerina off a win, this time a half-length victory over Summer Song in the Delta Colleen Handicap on Sept. 26. It was her first win since she won the Oaks.

"She really hasn't run a bad race all year," said Snow. "She had a couple of brutal trips at Emerald, and she hasn't been worse than third in any of her races here. With any kind of luck she would have at least one more win this year."

After finishing fourth in the Emerald Distaff Handicap on Aug. 16, Snow passed on the Strawberry Morn here Sept. 7. He wanted a fresh horse for the last two stakes races for fillies and mares at the meet. His move paid off when Blue Sky Holiday came from off the pace to win the Delta Colleen.

"We weren't going to run her in all three races, so it made sense to skip the Strawberry Morn," said Snow. "The time off did her a world of good, and right now she couldn't be doing any better."

Snow said he thinks longer races are better for Blue Sky Holiday, and if she comes out of the Ballerina in good shape he might ship her to Woodbine to run in the $175,000 Maple Leaf Stakes at 1 1/4 miles Nov. 7.

"We'll see how she does on Saturday and then go from there," said Snow. "Who knows how she'll handle the Polytrack, but I'm pretty sure she won't mind going a mile and a quarter. If we can share a plane with Dino or someone else, we'll probably give it a shot."

Snow was referring to trainer Dino Condilenios, who is considering shipping Teide to Woodbine for the Grade 2, $150,000 Autumn Stakes on Nov. 14.

For now, Snow said he is just hoping for a good race from Blue Sky Holiday in the Ballerina.

"It's a tough spot, but I wouldn't trade her for any of the other horses in the field," he said.

Wilson opts for rest

Jockey Dave Wilson is finished riding for the meet, which ends Nov. 8. He had been hospitalized and missed the last couple of weekends with acute pancreatitis.

Wilson said he was hoping to be back riding by now but decided against it when his blood results came back this week.

"It's too bad, because I would be riding at a lot lighter weight," he said. "Seriously, my blood is way out of whack. It's too thick. One of the tests they took for enzymes was supposed to come back at around 49, and it was 406. It is all looking a lot better now, and I could ride the final weekend, but I'm just going to take the time and get healthy."

Cuthbertson's license canceled

Jockey Alan Cuthbertson's license was canceled by the stewards Thursday. Cuthbertson, 62, was riding under a conditional license, which stipulated his license would be canceled if he refused to submit to a drug test. Last Saturday, he refused to take a random drug test ordered by the stewards and was taken off all of his mounts.

Cuthbertson has had numerous suspensions related to drug use. When he tested positive for cocaine in 2004, he had his license canceled in British Columbia. He returned to riding at Assiniboia Downs in 2005. He was the leading rider there in 2008 at age 61.