06/21/2005 11:00PM

Stein adds stakes to growing resume


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Leading apprentice Justin Stein notched the first stakes victory of his short career aboard No Sox Fox in the colts and geldings division of the CTHS Sales Stakes at Hastings last Sunday. It appears that Stein, who is fourth in the standings, will be one of the candidates for leading rider.

He won five races on June 12 and is consistently riding live horses. He is also very much in demand. Just ask Hastings' all-time leading trainer, Harold Barroby, whose son Trapper handles Stein's business.

"Trapper keeps telling me that he'll get to me, but I seem to be second or third choice all the time," he said. "It's not easy getting a call from him."

According to trainer Bob Rohman, the reason Stein got the mount on No Sox Fox was the ride he gave on Neverbroke in a $32,000 optional race June 12. Rohman trains both horses for Siminichiello Stables Inc.

"I told him that if he won on Neverbroke he could ride No Sox Fox," said Rohman. "Some people were critical of me for not riding a journeyman rider, but he gave a great ride on Neverbroke, so I wasn't about to go back on my promise."

Rohman was also very pleased by the ride Stein gave on No Sox Fox. In both of his previous wins, No Sox Fox led from start to finish. There was a lot of other speed in the Sales Stakes, and Rohman wanted Stein to sit just off of the speed.

It turned out that only Forecaster showed speed, and Rohman praised Stein for not panicking when Forecaster opened up a couple of lengths going down the backstretch.

"For a young rider he showed a lot of poise," said Rohman. "Another rider might have gone head and head with Forecaster, and they could have killed each other off."

Stein was thrilled with the win, and he was also impressed with No Sox Fox.

"He's a big, strong horse, and he just relaxed beautifully behind the other horse," he said. "Bob said he'll probably stretch him out next time, and I'm pretty sure he'll be a good horse going long."

Rohman wasn't sure where No Sox Fox would make his next start. He wasn't too keen on running him back in two weeks in the Jim Coleman Province July 3, and following that, the next stakes on the Hastings schedule is the Stallion Stakes on B.C. Cup Day, Aug. 1.

Fillies make for interesting mix

The 3-year-old filly division at Hastings is shaping up to be a lot more interesting than the past two years. In 2003, Dancewithavixen dominated the division, and last year Regal Red was a standout before she was sent home following her easy victory in the Stallion Stakes on British Columbia Cup Day.

It appears to be a much deeper division this year. Regal Pusher and Slewpast battled it out the whole way in the Dikeakos Architects Mademoiselle Stakes last Friday, with Regal Pusher holding off Slewpast by a half-length. The 1 1/16-mile Dikeakos was the first middle-distance race for 3-year-old stakes fillies at the meet. Country Kat made a nice run to get up for third, but she really didn't have much chance of catching the top two after they went a half-mile in a pedestrian 49:23 seconds over the sloppy track.

The next time they all get together will likely be in the Stallion Stakes on B.C. Cup Day. According to trainer Steve Henson, Regal Pusher will likely skip the July 16 Liberation. Slewpast's trainer, Robbie Anderson, said that she would probably run in the Liberation.

Either way, the likely pace scenario in both races will be completely different. Joining them will be undefeated Avenging Kat, who scored an impressive front-running win in the fillies division of the CTHS Sales Stakes Saturday.

Avenging Kat only started twice at age 2, and both times she displayed tremendous speed. She won a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race last September and forced quick fractions in the process of winning the richest race in the province for 2-year-old fillies, the Sadie Diamond Futurity, in October. She had a chip removed from one of her ankles over the winter, and judging by the way she won the CTHS Sales Stakes, the operation was a complete success. Her trainer, Felimon Alvarado, said she will probably make her next start in the Liberation.

"There aren't any sprints left," he said, "so we really don't have much choice but to try and stretch her out."

Felimon's brother, Pedro Alvarado, has been aboard for all three of her wins. He thinks Avenging Kat will be able to carry her speed around three turns.

"Felimon did a great job of bringing her up to the race," he said. "She probably broke so sharp because she was so eager after being off for that long. She's only had the one sprint, but Felimon has put a lot of bottom into her, so I think she'll be fine when she stretches out."