10/25/2007 11:00PM

Royal Hudson a well-bred longshot

EmailVANCOUVER, British Columbia - Anyone looking for a longshot to win the $100,000 Ascot Graduation at Hastings might want to consider Royal Hudson.

Trained by Dave Forster, Royal Hudson is coming off a win in a six-furlong maiden special weight race Sept. 30 where he made up 13 lengths in the last quarter-mile. His final time of 1:13.70 isn't anything to get excited about, and he would need to improve to beat the likes of Jack Diamond Futurity Desert Alf and three-time stakes winner Star Prospector.

What makes Royal Hudson so intriguing is his breeding. Arguably, he is the best-bred horse at Hastings. Royal Hudson is by a Kentucky Derby winner, Monarchos, and he is the last foal out of Au Printemps. A Maryland-bred who was also trained by Forster, Au Printemps won seven races in her career, including the B.C. Oaks in 1982. Her first foal, by Hold Your Peace, was Success Express, who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Hollywood Park in 1987. Au Printemps is also the dam of Grade 1 Champagne winner Greenwood Lake, and Charlie Barley, who won close to $1 million while running mostly at Woodbine from 1988-90.

Forster bought Au Printemps as a yearling for a group that included Tri Star Stable and Dave Bowman.

"I bought her with the idea that she would make a tremendous broodmare," said Forster. "For once I was right."

Forster came close to training Success Express, but the deal fell through.

"The plan was for me to get half of him, but Tri Star needed some cash at the time and they ended up selling him as a yearling," said Forster. "We thought he would go for around $40,000, but he sold for $150,000. A client of Wayne Lukas's bought him. The rest, as they say, is history."

After she had foaled a Breeders' Cup winner, most of Au Printemps's foals became too expensive for local buyers. Prices usually come down for foals out of older mares, though, and Royal Hudson was affordable at $40,000.

"I never thought I would ever get to train one out of her," said Forster. "She was a late-closer, and so is Royal Hudson. Not all of her foals ran that way, though. Success Express was pretty much a speed horse."

With his excellent breeding, Royal Hudson figures to improve stretching out to 1 1/16 miles in the Ascot.

"The distance shouldn't be a problem," said Forster. "It's just a matter if he'll quicken enough. Sometimes horses that make a strong late move sprinting don't quicken enough when they stretch out."

Simulcast dispute freezes slots revenue

A dispute between the local Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the British Columbia Standardbred Association over how to split simulcast revenue derived from teletheater sites has resulted in a suspension of slot-machine revenue to the horse racing industry.

Currently, only Fraser Downs, a local Standardbred track, has slots. Hastings, though, is expected to open its slots floor soon.

According to Derek Sturko, assistant deputy minister of the gaming policy and enforcement branch of the provincial government, the slots revenue was suspended Oct. 20 and won't be reinstated until a simulcasting agreement is reached between the two groups.

Simulcast revenue generated at teletheater sites is divided 67 percent to Thoroughbreds and 33 percent to Standardbreds. The HPBA would like the split to be more in line with the betting generated by each breed. About 75 percent of all simulcast wagering in the province is made on Thoroughbreds. If the splits were changed to 75/25, the amount of money in question would be $600,000 a year.

Because of the dispute, the horsemen have pulled their approval to send the Hastings simulcast signal to Fraser Downs.

"We're not getting the revenue from the Thoroughbred product that we deserve," said Mel Snow, the president of the local HBPA. "Basically our position is that the revenue generated from the Thoroughbred product should go to Thoroughbreds."

Jim Vinnell, the president of the British Columbia Standardbred Association, disagrees.

"How can it be a B.C. Thoroughbred product if it comes out of California?" he said. "The simulcast product is a business that we developed together and we're equal partners in the business."

According to Vinnell, the standardbred association would accept a 70/30 split, while the Thoroughbred side is offering a 73/27 split.

The HBPA, standardbred association, and Great Canadian Gaming Corp. are partners in running the teletheater sites in B.C.

Great Canadian owns both Hastings and Fraser Downs, but doesn't really have a say in the matter.

"We're really just a third party looking in," said Chuck Keeling, who oversees the racetrack operations for Great Canadian. "Of course we would like to see the dispute settled as soon as possible."

The two sides could meet again this week.