09/06/2006 11:00PM

Seven Secrets best of locals in B.C. Derby


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Seven Secrets earned a shot in the Grade 3 $250,000 British Columbia Derby Sept. 24 with a workmanlike two-length victory over a game Forceful Intention in the 1 1/16-mile Richmond Derby Trial last Sunday.

Although the Trial was his first stakes win, Seven Secrets has shown that he can run with the best 3-year-olds at Hastings, and unless a very good horse shows up from out of town, he must be considered one of the favorites for the derby.

Trained by Harold Barroby and ridden by Anderson Ward in the Trial, Seven Secrets has started 11 times in his career, and the only time he finished off the board was in his debut, when he finished fourth in a maiden special weight race last September. In six starts in 2006 he's won three races and finished second in two stakes. His worst race this year was a third-place finish in a 1 1/16-mile $75,000 optional race, and he can be forgiven for it because it was the first time he went around three turns.

Seven Secrets closed out his 2-year-old year with a win in a maiden special weight race Nov. 6. He wore blinkers in his last four starts as a juvenile but he came out for his first start as a 3-year-old without them.

"He has a lot of speed and he comes from a speed family," said Barroby. "I knew we had to get him to relax, so one of the things we did was take the blinkers off. I always thought he was a pretty nice horse, but if we had tried to send him a couple of times it would have been tough to get him back. Once they get it in their minds that they want to be on the lead they usually don't want to run from off of it."

Seven Secrets could be coupled in the derby with Woodbine-based Ok Nothanksforaskn. Both horses are owned by K.K. Sangara. Ok Nothanksforaskn, who is trained by Lorne Richards, was entered in an allowance race at Woodbine on Friday.

"If he runs well Friday and he comes out of the race in good shape we're planning on running him back there," said Richards from his home in Ontario. "Royal Challenger won the Breeders and he's in it, so it's a tough race. But I like the way he's coming into the race, so I expect we'll be coming to Vancouver."

Excited Miss looks best in Oaks

As it stands now there doesn't appear to be any clear-cut favorite for the B.C. Derby. The Grade 3 $150,000 Breeders' Cup Oaks on Sept. 23, however, is an entirely different story.

Under a confident ride by Pedro Alvarado, Excited Miss ran the best race of her career to post an easy 3 3/4-length win over Sophie's Trophy in the Hong Kong Jockey Club last Saturday. Excited Miss will be a heavy favorite to win her fifth straight stakes if she runs in the Oaks. Her final time of 1:44.18 for the 1 1/16 miles was better than a second faster than it took Seven Secrets to cover the same distance in the Derby Trial. She also received a 90 Beyer Speed Figure compared to 76 for Seven Secrets. Considering that the best Beyer Figure at the meet for any 3-year-old colt or gelding is an 84, would her trainer, Barb Heads, be interested in tackling the boys in the derby?

"One day at a time," she said. "But we are looking at the Oaks for her next race and not the derby. She came out of it in good shape, but like I said, we'll just go one day at a time for now."

Heads trained Excited Miss a little differently leading into the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

"We were more aggressive with her," she said. "She had been running in races where the pace was pretty slow, but with Hurry an Notis in the field we knew they would be going a lot quicker."

Excited Miss is owned by Leif Nordahl, who bought her for $8,000 out of the 2004 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society mixed sale. The win in the Hong Kong Jockey Club brought her earnings to $170,240.

According to Heads, Nordahl will be active in the CTHS Sale on Tuesday at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley.

Spaghetti Mouse loose on lead

Compared to the quick fractions set by Hurry an Notis in the Hong Kong Jockey Club, there was no pace in what was little more than a 1 1/8-mile workout for Spaghetti Mouse and jockey Dave Wison in the S.W. Randall Plate on Monday.

Surprisingly, jockey Mario Gutierrez took a hold of B.C. Cup Sprint Stakes winner Notis Otis leaving the starting gate and that left Spaghetti Mouse galloping along in front while setting very slow fractions.

Trained by Gary Demorest, it was Spaghetti Mouse's third straight stakes win, and with it he virtually locked up local older handicap honors.

"He just ran his usual race," said Demorest. "If they go fast up front, he can come from behind. If they let him gallop along on his own, he can do that, too. He's developed into a very nice horse."

A 4-year-old gelding by Archers Bay, Spaghetti Mouse was a $21,000 purchase by Nick and Pauline Felicella out of the 2003 CTHS mixed sale. His career earnings are $433,828.