09/27/2007 12:00AM

Sangara's wish finally realized

EmailVANCOUVER, British Columbia - Owner K. K. Sangara one-upped his father, Terry, with a win by Celtic Dreamin in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby at Hastings last Sunday.

Terry Sangara's best finish as an owner was in the 1979 B.C. Derby with K D's Knight, who finished second.

"I'm just happy to see one of us finally win the race," said Terry Sangara.

K.K. Sangara, who has been coming to Hastings ever since his father dragged him along as a 2-year-old in 1970, claimed Celtic Dreamin out of his debut in a $40,000 maiden race at Santa Anita last April. Celtic Dreamin, who is trained by Rafael Becerra, has now won four races and earned $256,500 for Sangara.

"He's obviously been a good claim," said Sangara. "Rafael gets all the credit, though. He picked him out. He was a first-time starter when Rafael claimed him and I really didn't know anything about him before he called me up and asked me if I wanted to claim him."

Sangara, who has horses stabled at Woodbine with trainer Lorne Richards as well as in California, ranks Celtic Dreamin as the second best claim he has ever made.

"Lorne claimed Sheila's Prospect for $50,000 and she went on to win a couple of Grade 3's and earn over $400,000," said Sangara. "We also ended up selling her for $200,000 as a broodmare prospect. Rafael told me he isn't sure how good Celtic Dreamin really is. So far he's been pretty good."

Corey Nakatani had been riding Celtic Dreamin in Southern California but Gerry Olguin flew in from Woodbine to ride him in the derby. Olguin was the leading rider at Hastings in 1997 and 1998. He won the derby here with Fleet Reserve in 1989.

Olguin's experience at Hastings had a lot to do with his obtaining the mount. It also didn't hurt that he won a few races for Becerra at Santa Anita last winter.

"Gerry worked hard and he rode well for me at Santa Anita," said Becerra. "K.K. wanted to bring him in because of all the success he's had at Hastings in the past. Corey would have gladly ridden him. He was very impressed when he worked him at Santa Anita before the race. Because of the work I was pretty confident going into the race."

Olguin was glad he got to ride a couple of races on the card prior to the derby.

"I forgot how tough it is to ride here," he said. "You're always getting bumped around going into the turns. I had a pretty good trip in the derby, though. Rafael told me to put him in the race early, and after he broke sharply I just kept him near the lead. When he accelerated I was surprised to see we were so far in front."

With the decline in the number of racing days and the purses available at Hastings, Sangara has moved most of his horses to either Woodbine or Southern California with Becerra. For Sangara, winning the B.C. Derby wasn't about the money, though.

"This is where I live, and I've been coming here with my dad since I was a kid," he said. "This is the one race we've always wanted to win and I'm just thrilled to have finally won it."

According to Becerra, Celtic Dreamin will be pointed to the $250,000 California Cup Classic on Nov. 3.

Sir Gallovic may try Premiers

It was a shame that third-place finisher Sir Gallovic didn't get to run his race. Trapped along the rail most of the way, he had to check sharply when his rider, Mario Gutierrez, tried to get through along the rail at the quarter pole. By the time he had regrouped, Celtic Dreamin was gone and the race was over.

"While my horse was dropping back, Celtic Dreamin was moving to the lead," said trainer Troy Taylor. "I don't know if he could have beat him, but it would have been a hell of a race if he didn't get stopped."

According to Taylor, Sir Gallovic might make his next start in the $100,000 Premiers on Oct. 14.

"He came back pretty cut up," said Taylor. "If he's okay we'll probably run him in the Premiers."

Gandolf, who finished second, is headed back to California, where he will get some rest.

"He came back a little tired," said his trainer, Jason Orman. "We'll give him a little break and then look for a maiden special weight race for him. It's nice to still have that condition."

Gandolf came into the race off of a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park. According to Orman, Gandolf was supposed to ship back to California after his race in Alberta.

"We had some trouble making arrangements to get him back to California, so we shipped him to Hastings, where he seemed to train well," Orman said. "It's been a good trip for his owners. He won about $120,000 in a month and the Canadian dollar is pretty good right now."

Gandolf is owned by a partnership that includes John Elick.

"John lives in Calgary and he brought the Canadian Derby to my attention," said Orman. "I looked at the race and it looked like Gandolf fit with the horses that were probably going to run in the race. Plus, he was going in the right direction at the time."

Sprint sets up for a closer

With plenty of speed in the field, the feature race on Saturday should set up nicely for either Meritocratic or Trouble Shooter. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint for $11,000 claimers drew seven horses and goes as the ninth race.

Meritocratic is coming off of a third-place finish behind Sly Striker in a nonwinners-of-three $20,000 claiming race Sept. 9. He was sent off as the even-money favorite, but after looming boldly at the top of the stretch he couldn't sustain his bid.

Trained by Brent Bremner, Meritocratic has more speed than Trouble Shooter and should get first crack at what could be tiring speed.

Trouble Shooter has won three straight races and will be making his first start since being claimed by trainer Harold Barroby Sept. 3. A B.C.-bred 4-year-old gelding, Trouble Shooter most recently beat open $8,000 claiming sprinters.

Trouble Shooter worked a sharp five furlongs in 1:01.20 on Sept. 17 and looks like a serious threat from off the pace.

If I'm Spared looks like the speed of the speed and is dropping after tiring to finish fifth in a $25,000 claiming race on Sept. 3. He won two races at Stampede Park this year and could be very dangerous if he gets away on his own.