08/04/2014 7:52PM

Stellar’s Jay: Koffee Grinder heads parade of favorites


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Following a trend, heavily favored Koffee Grinder paid $2.90 for his convincing five-length win over Off the Top in the $50,000 Stellar’s Jay for 3-year-olds on B.C. Cup Day at Hastings on Monday. Five of the six stakes races restricted to British Columbia-breds were won by favorites. The only non-favorite to win was Dawselina, who went off as the second choice in the $50,000 Dogwood.

Jockey Rico Walcott had a few anxious moments when Frank Fuentes, aboard Off the Top, claimed foul against Walcott and Koffee Grinder for interference at the top of the stretch.  Koffee Grinder did duck in when Walcott tapped him with a right-handed whip, but the interference was minor and the stewards disallowed the claim of foul.

Koffee Grinder was in a stalking position early in the 1 1/16-mile race, moved into contention on the stretch turn, and took control from Off the Top at the top of the stretch. Off the Top, who set the pace, couldn’t fend off Koffee Grinder, but he finished a 5 1/2 lengths clear of Richter Red who rallied to finish third.

It was the first time Walcott had been aboard Koffee Grinder for trainer Craig MacPherson.

“Craig said he was a push-button horse, and when I pushed the button he took off,” Walcott said. “He has a nice quick move.”

Koffee Grinder posted a quick final time of 1:43.14 and established himself as the local favorite for the Grade 3, $150,000 British Columbia Derby on Sept. 14

Debutante: Quatre Cat wins stretch battle

The most exciting finish of the six stakes races came in the $50,000 Debutante where after a stretch-long duel Quatre Cat edged a stubborn Finality’s Charmer by a nose in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint for 2-year-old fillies. She paid $4.50 as a slight favorite over Finality’s Charmer.  It was another 9 1/4 lengths back to the third-place finisher Biscuit.

Quatre Cat was ridden by Ryan Pacheco and is trained by Sylvea Gregory.

The final time was 1:17.77.