06/18/2008 11:00PM

Stampede conditions kept 'Allstar' out of derby

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Owner Bob Cheema said poor track conditions at Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta, last weekend were the main reason Dancing Allstar wasn't entered in the $125,000 Alberta Derby.

Dancing Allstar probably would have been slightly favored over what appeared to be a weak field of colts and geldings in the Alberta Derby. Instead, she's going to be a prohibitive favorite in the fillies division of the CTHS Sales Stakes at Hastings on Saturday.

"They had canceled some races there earlier in the week because of the condition of the track," Cheema said. "We aren't about to take any chances with her."

Dancing Allstar, who is trained by Terry Jordan, was bought by Cheema for $15,500 out of the 2006 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society-B.C. Division yearling and mixed sale.

"Bob picked her out," Jordan said. "She was hip number 160-something and I was probably sleeping by the time she came out. Bob deserves all the credit."

Cheema said: "I don't know anything about conformation, but she looked like a nice horse. She looked kind of athletic and she really caught my eye."

Dancing Allstar has proved to be quite the bargain. She was the top 2-year-old filly in Canada last year, and going into the Sales Stakes, she has earned $369,500. The combined total earnings of the four horses she's running against Saturday is just more than $183,000.

Jordan also will saddle the likely favorite in the colts and geldings division of the Sales Stakes on Sunday. Star Prospector, owned by Peter Redekop, is coming off an easy win in the one-mile Hoofprint on My Heart Handicap at Stampede Park on May 24. The thought of running Star Prospect in the 1 1/16-mile Alberta Derby never really entered into Jordan's mind.

"I haven't given up on the idea that he'll be able to stretch out against top company," he said. "But right now he's just a much better sprinter. Peter also said he wanted to stay home and watch him run. I never even nominated him to the derby."

Arkhill targeting Chris Loseth Stakes

Trainer Craig MacPherson reported that Arkhill came out of his win in the Alberta Derby in good shape and that he would be pointed to the $50,000 Chris Loseth Stakes at Hastings on July 6. Bred by his owner, Neville Davis, Arkhill has won 5 of his 6 starts and banked $121,104.

"He continues to do more than what we ever expected him to do," MacPherson said. "It was the first time he had shipped and his first time going a distance. I thought he was quite an authoritative winner."

Arkhill is an Alberta-bred, and MacPherson said that after the Chris Loseth, Arkhill would probably return to Alberta to run in the $50,000 Ky Alta on Aug. 12.

The two big races for 3-year-olds in Western Canada are the Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby at 1 3/8 miles at Northlands Park and the Grade 3, $250,000 B.C. Derby at Hastings on Sept 21.

"I don't know if he really wants to go a mile and three-eighths," MacPherson said. "He had the lowest Tomlinson number for a mile and a sixteenth in the Alberta Derby, and he's not a very big horse. It's also going to get a lot tougher around here. We know there are people already shopping around for a potential derby horse. Obviously, we are very aware of both races, but for now we'll just enjoy his latest win and take it one race at a time."

Arkhill's Tomlinson figures are 286 for 1 1/16 miles and 251 for 11 furlongs.

MacPherson agreed with Cheema's assessment that the track at Stampede Park was in pretty rough shape.

"It was very uneven," MacPherson said. "I ran a horse on Friday, and he came back pretty bad. If it had stayed the same for the derby, I probably would have scratched Arkhill."

Barroby dismayed by disqualification

Trainer Harold Barroby was surprised with the stewards' decision to disqualify Cuddlemekaylee, a horse he owns with his wife, Sandra, from first to second in the eighth race last Sunday. Cuddlemekaylee, who was ridden by apprentice Jayson Rodriguez, clearly interfered with Crowned Legacy, who was moved up to first. But according to Barroby, the interference occurred right before the finish line and did not affect the outcome of the race.

"I was shocked that they took the number down," Barroby said. "I think they should have dealt with the jockey later because he did come over, but the horse that finished second wasn't going to win and the interference didn't cost him third money."

There is no avenue to appeal a stewards' decision in British Columbia, but Barroby said he was fine with that.

"I like the fact that the stewards' decision is final, although I don't think they got it right this time," he said. "I've seen appeals in other jurisdictions end up going to court and then it's in the hands of people that really aren't that well-versed in horse racing."

However, Barroby was unhappy that only two of the three stewards who watched the race were involved in the decision. Frank Fuentes rode Crowned Legacy. Wayne Russell, the senior steward, is Fuentes's father-in-law and whenever there is an inquiry involving Fuentes, he leaves the room.

"I trust Wayne and I don't think he would be prejudiced toward Frank," Barroby said. "He has the most experience, and I think he should be involved in all of the decisions."

The stewards would not comment.

* Jockey Mario Gutierrez padded his lead in the jockey standings with six wins last Sunday. With 40 wins at the meet, he has twice as many wins as the second leading rider, Frank Fuentes.