08/18/2010 12:33PM

Silly Fella staying at Hastings for CTHS Sales Stakes

Four-Footed Fotos
Silly Fella was pointing to the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands on Saturday, but after tough trips in a pair of Hastings stakes, he will make his next start in Wednesday’s CTHS Sales Stakes.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – After Silly Fella won a $50,000 optional claimer by a widening 6 3/4 lengths in May, his connections were hoping he was good enough to be a contender in the Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park this Saturday. After a couple of rough trips in the Chris Loseth and B.C. Cup Stellar’s Jay, however, they opted to keep him at Hastings and run him in the $50,000 CTHS Sales Stakes next Wednesday instead.

“He might be good enough, but since he didn’t really get to show us that with all the trouble he has encountered, we’re going to keep him here,” trainer Terry Dubois said.

Silly Fella has shown signs of brilliance in his 10-race career and he will certainly be one of the favorites in the 1 1/16-mile Sales Stakes, which is restricted to horses that have gone through a CTHS sale where the full commission was collected.

Purchased for $26,000 in the 2008 B.C. CTHS Sale by Nick and Pauline Felicella, Silly Fella has more than earned his keep with more than $123,000 in earnings. He will go into the Sales Stakes as the top money earner in the field by a large margin. Next on the list of horses nominated is Prince Intent, with just more than $33,000 in the bank.

Silly Fella picked up a lot of his cash with an impressive 8 3/4-length win over Dyna Stroll in the $106,000 Jack Diamond Futurity last year. Chad Hoverson has been his regular rider since taking over the mount in the Futurity, but Dubois said Pedro Alvarado will ride Silly Fella in the Sales Stakes.

“We’re certainly not blaming Chad for the bad trips, but we just thought we would give Pedro a chance,” Dubois said. “He has been coming down and getting on him in the mornings, and they seem to get along well.”

Alvarado was aboard for Silly Fella’s sharp five-furlong move in 1:00.20 last Saturday.

Dubois said that Silly Fella is a very happy horse right now and a lot of it has to do with the horse stabled right next to him, Good Nick. Good Nick is trained by Monica Russell, who is stabled next to Dubois.

“They have become pals,” Dubois said. “I think having Nick next to him has really settled him down, and hopefully it will show when he runs in the Sales Stakes.”

Wando Woman still improving

The fillies division of the Sales Stakes also goes Wednesday, and trainer Cindy Krasner is hoping Wando Woman can build on her second-place finish behind Dearest Princess in the B.C. Cup Dogwood Stakes on Aug. 2. The Dogwood was only Wando Woman’s fourth career start, and it was her first time going around three turns. She was coming off of win in a maiden special weight race July 4 and has improved in every race since she finished seventh in her debut in May. She was purchased by Dennis Spence for $13,000 out of the 2008 Sale.

“She is still learning what it’s all about,” Krasner said. “The light bulb hasn’t quite come on yet, but she has a lot of promise and we are hoping for big things from her in the future.”

No reduction in Hastings dates

Local horsemen were concerned that Hastings might cut short the current meet after the Horse Racing Industry Management Committee shortened the proposed dates for the rest of the year for Fraser Downs, the local standardbred track. Fraser Downs and Hasting are owned by Great Canadian Casino Corp.

The committee, which oversees racing in the province, reduced the dates at Fraser Downs in response to a request from Great Canadian. GCGC stated the reduction would avoid an overlap between the two tracks and also improve the value of purses remaining for the standardbred dates. GCGC also asked the committee to rescind all the standardbred dates for 2011 unless a deal between the Harness Racing B.C. Society, the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association, and Horse Racing Alberta is worked out to establish an inter-provincial standardbred racing season. GCGC would like to see a four-month season in British Columbia, between January and April, and four months in Alberta, starting in September.

Owner Glen Todd, who is a member of the committee, was adamant that Hastings wouldn’t cut short the season.

“The purse pool at Hastings is in excellent shape, and the committee isn’t considering any reduction of racing dates,” Todd said.

Hastings closes its current meet Oct. 11, and four of the premier races are scheduled to run on the final weekend – the Grade 3 Ballerina on Oct. 9; Grade 3 Premiers on Oct. 10, and the Jack and Sadie Diamond futurities on closing day.