09/11/2008 11:00PM

Sangara reloads for B.C. Derby


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Owner K.K. Sangara isn't taking any chances in trying to win the $250,000 B.C. Derby for the second year in a row. He is shipping in two horses for the derby, Wink at the Girls and Dancingall Theway.

Wink at the Girls is based in Southern California with trainer Rafael Becerra, and Dancingall Theway will be making the trip from Woodbine, where he is trained by Lorne Richards.

Sangara won the derby last year with Celtic Dreamin, who was trained by Becerra. In 2006, Richards shipped in Ok Nothanksforaskin, who lost by neck to Halo Steven.

Both Wink at the Girls and Dancingall Theway have very good speed, and certainly one of them will be in front during the early stages of the derby. More than likely, it will be Wink at the Girls. He is coming off of a second-place finish in the Jim Kostoff Stakes at Fairplex on Sept. 5, where led most of the way but was nosed out at the wire by Trevor's Clever.

"I think Dancingall Theway can rate," Sangara said. "I'm not so sure about Wink at the Girls."

Sangara likes the way Wink at the Girls handled the tight turns at Fairplex.

"He went around the turns perfectly, and that's one of the reasons we're bringing him to Hastings," Sangara said.

Like many horses with speed, Wink at the Girls had a hard time running over the Polytrack surface at Del Mar. If you throw out his two poor races there, he looks pretty live in the derby. Since being claimed by Sangara for $75,000 out of a maiden race at Santa Anita on March 13, he has a win and three second-place finishes from four starts that weren't on Polytrack.

Dancingall Theway has won his last two starts and he is coming off of a front-running win in a 1 1/16-mile third-level allowance race for Ontario-breds at Woodbine on Aug. 14. Richards agrees with Sangara about his ability to rate.

"There just wasn't any other speed in the field, so we put him right on the lead," Richards said. "I didn't like bringing him back in two weeks for the race, but if he couldn't win there we wouldn't have considered shipping him to Vancouver for the derby. He has natural speed but he's very manageable and he should be able to come from a little bit off of it in the derby."

According to Richards, Dancingall Theway isn't a big horse and he does his best running when his races are spaced out.

"The timing of the derby works out perfectly for him," Richards said. "It will be about six weeks, and the only real concern I have is how well he handles the trip. The one thing that is out of your control is when you ship a horse that far. Hopefully, it will all go well."

Sangara is importing riders Gerry Olguin and Justin Stein, who are both based at Woodbine. Olguin will ride Winking at the Girls, and Stein will be aboard Dancingall Theway. Both jockeys have been the leading rider at Hastings in the past, and Olguin was aboard Celtic Dreamin for his win in the 2007 B.C. Derby.

Arkhill returning in B.C. Derby

Arkhill will be coming into the derby off of an extended layoff. Trained by Craig MacPherson, Arkhill was on a roll with wins in the Alberta Derby at Stampede Park and the Ky Alta at Northlands Park on July 12. He was the morning-line favorite to win the Count Lathum Stakes at Northlands on Aug. 2, but he came down with colic and had to be scratched.

"I would feel better if he had a race since he ran in the Ky. Alta," MacPherson said. "He's a slight horse, so it isn't hard to get him fit. We'll give him a solid work this weekend and hopefully he'll be ready to go. At least he's a fresh horse, and we'll go with the idea that being fresh will work in his favor."

Arkhill will go into the derby with an impressive resume. He has won 6 of his 7 starts and in his lone loss he finished second in his first outing this year at Stampede Park.

"He really didn't handle the track very well the day he lost," MacPherson said. "He has done quite a bit more than we ever expected. It's asking a lot to bring him up to the derby off of this type of layoff, but he's surprised us before and hopefully he can do it again."

Slight decline in CTHS sale average

The average price for a yearling at the CTHS sale held at the Thunderbird Show Park in Langley on Tuesday was down marginally from the 2007 sale. The average price this year was $11,148 compared to $11,341, a 1.7 percent decline.

The gross, which includes figures for broodmares and horses of racing age, was up nearly 3 percent at $1,158,400, compared to $1,129,150.

Glenn Todd bought the top-priced yearling for $57,000, a colt by Minnaloushe out of Sinibion.

Swift Thoroughbreds Inc. was the leading buyer at the sale. They purchased six horses for a total of $130,500.

Dixie Jacobson, president of the B.C. division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, was pleased with the final totals.

"We were just about even from last year, and considering that most of the sales across North America have been down, it was a pretty good result," she said. "There were less people buying, but the atmosphere was much better than last year. Things are starting to look up with the slots going in, and hopefully we can start moving forward."