07/19/2005 11:00PM

Stein's hot weekend has him on top

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - It appears to be the year of the apprentice in Canada. At the three major tracks - Woodbine, Fort Erie, and Hastings - the leading riders are apprentices. In the case of Woodbine, the top two riders - Emma Wilson and Corey Fraser - are both apprentices.

Last weekend, a hot Justin Stein leapfrogged to the front of the jockey standings at Hastings. Friday night he won with six of his eight mounts. For a moment on Saturday it looked like Stein might have another spectacular day when he won the first two races. He came back to reality with only one more winner on the card. Sunday he won two more races to bring his total for the meet to 47, one more than Pedro Alvarado.

Stein, 25, comes from a riding family. His father, Robert Stein, and his grandfather Art Stein were both jockeys. Stein thought he might have had a little help from his grandfather, who had died last week.

"It must have been him giving my horses angel wings," he said. "He must have been watching over me in his first day in heaven."

Stein is doing just about everything right on a horse. He can get them out of the gate as well as anyone, and he is also very patient. One of his best rides over the weekend was aboard a first-time starter trained by Craig MacPherson, Deltadanz.

Deltadanz broke with the field, but Stein wisely didn't rush her. Instead, he gathered her nicely and found a good spot going into the first turn. Heading into the second turn, she appeared to be going wide, but Stein once again made a smart move and guided her inside of Ruby of the Amazon.

Deltadanz saved ground all the way around the turn, and when she moved out to challenge the leaders at the top of the stretch, she tried to lug in, but Stein quickly straightened her out, and she went on to win by two lengths. Stein looked like a seasoned veteran instead of an apprentice in his first full year of riding.

Near-record for Quick Cash

There were also two impressive performances by horses over the weekend, particularly Quiet Cash on Sunday. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt, Quiet Cash may have broken the track record for 6 1/2 furlongs if his rider, Chad Hoverson, had pushed him through the stretch.

As it was, Quiet Cash came close, getting the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.38, easily the best time of the year and almost equaling the track record of 1:15 set by Torque Convertor in 1996.

"He was well within himself," said Hoverson. "He could have easily gone faster, but I was just happy to win the race."

Quiet Cash's trainer, Terry Jordan, was pleased that Hoverson didn't push him. Jordan was using the race as a prep to the $75,000 Great Canadian Handicap, which comes up pretty quickly on July 31.

"That was perfect," said Jordan. "I was planning on working him last Sunday, but the race came up, and it couldn't have worked out better. I didn't want to take too much out of him, and Chad did the right thing by saving something."

Slewpast gets route win

Slewpast, trained by Robbie Anderson, answered any questions about her ability to go a middle distance with a powerful win in the 1 1/16-mile Liberation Stakes on Saturday. It was her second time going around three turns, and while she had finished second to Regal Pusher in the three-turn Dikeakos Architects Mademoiselle Handicap June 17, they went so slowly during the first part that it wasn't surprising that she held on after forcing the early fractions.

It was a completely different story in the Liberation. With Frank Fuentes aboard, Slewpast stalked a rapid pace and then drew off to a commanding two-length win over the late-finishing Vickies Song.

"The track made a big difference," said Anderson. "She's a much better horse over firm footing, and she ran a pretty good race when she finished second to Regal Pusher over a sloppy track. I was pretty sure she would get the distance."

Slewpast will get a chance to redeem her loss to Regal Pusher when they meet in the B.C. Cup Stallion Stakes Aug. 1.

* A Hastings outrider, Chad Barroby, was arrested Friday and charged with conspiracy to produce and traffic methamphetamine. He was arrested at a club operated by the Hells Angels, but according to the police he is not considered a member. Barroby has been suspended from his job at Hastings.

* Exercise rider Tony Daponte was sentenced to four years in jail after pleading guilty to impaired driving resulting in death.