07/02/2009 11:00PM

Swift's Darley deal pays off with Teide

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - When the nine-horse package of horses Swift Thoroughbreds bought from Darley Stable arrived at Hastings this winter, trainer Dino Condilenios maintained that Teide was the prize in the package. Teide proved Condilenios right with a powerful win in the $101,554 Lieutenant Governors on Wednesday.

What made Teide's win so impressive was that he raced close to a very fast pace going 1 1/8 miles and was still able to fend off a strong late run by Texas Wildcatter. The other three horses involved in the early stages of the race, Forest Prince, Bank Emblem, and Spaghetti Mouse, all faded when the real running started.

"I liked him right from Day 1," said Condilenios. "He is a big, strong horse, and he really carries himself well."

Chad Hoverson was aboard for the win and was impressed by the performance.

"He's got many gears," said Hoverson. "There aren't many horses around that you can ask to run at any point in the race and they'll give it to you. It was a nice sail around the track."

Not everything went well for Condilenios and Swift on Wednesday. Almost Time, who would have been heavily favored, had to be scratched from the Chris Loseth Stakes when he didn't pass the morning vet inspection.

"Let's just say I wasn't a happy camper at the time," said Condilenios. "He was a little off and I asked for a little time to see if it was possibly just a problem with his shoes or some other minor issue. They said no and that was that."

Condilenios said he was still trying to find out what the exact problem is, so it's safe to say Almost Time wasn't going to run in the Chris Loseth if he was given the added time anyway.

Things improved quite a bit for Swift and Condilenios as the day progressed. They won a maiden special weight race with Gatwick earlier on the card and then watched Pop Artist finish second in the $50,000 Western Canada Handicap at Northlands Park. Both horses are 3-year-old colts and were part of the Darley package.

"That's the nature of the business," said Condilenios. "One moment it looks like the end of the world is here, and the next thing you know, everything is going your way."

Condilenios was looking at the Longacres Mile as a possible next start for Teide.

"We'll give him about a week off and then start preparing him for the Mile," he said. "He won sprinting, so the cutback to a mile should suit him perfectly."

As for Almost Time, Condilenios was looking at the one-mile Ky Alta at Northlands Park on July 11 as a possibility for his next start. The $300,000 B.C. Derby on Sept. 27 is the main goal for Almost Time.

"If he's okay, we'll probably run at Northlands," said Condilenios. "We're starting to get a little behind the eight-ball with him, though. He still hasn't gone long, and we need to get a few routes into him before the derby comes up."

Older horses headed elsewhere

Most of the top older stakes horses at Hastings are about to make a mass exodus for other tracks. The problem is that there aren't any stakes for non-B.C.-breds on the schedule until Sept. 7. In the last couple of years, older horses owned by local owners were eligible to run in races on B.C. Cup Day, scheduled for Aug. 3. But the format was changed to try and foster a relationship between Hastings and Emerald Downs; only B.C.- and Washington-breds are eligible for the three races for older horses.

Trainer Troy Taylor is looking at races at Del Mar, Emerald Downs, and Northlands Park for some of his top horses. Taylor won two of the four stakes races at Hastings on Wednesday. He also finished second in the Lieutenant Governors with Texas Wildcatter.

"We really don't have many options," said Taylor. "There just aren't any races here. The racing office said they will put up allowance races, but I imagine they won't fill."

Taylor wasn't taking any credit for the great job he did in having Holy Nova ready to win the 1 1/16-mile Vancouver Sun Handicap for fillies and mares. Holy Nova was making her first start since she finished fifth in the Grade 3 Ballerina last October. She did make it to the starting gate in the Senate Appointee on June 7, but she was declared a nonstarter after she reared at the start and never got out of the gate.

"I didn't do anything special," said Taylor. "Simply put, she is just the best horse."

Onstad, longtime owner, dies

Duane Onstad, a longtime owner at Hastings, died last Sunday at age 92. He was one of the leading owners at Hastings starting in the late 1950s, and his aggressive claiming style changed the way the game was played here.

"He never kept a horse over the winter," said one of his trainers, Sid Martin. "He made a lot of money by dropping them into races where they could win and betting on them."

Onstad was still coming to the track regularly just before his death. His wife of 60 years, Lorraine, died in 2008. He is survived by six children.

* The local Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association is holding a nomination meeting for anyone interested in running for election for the board of directors. The meeting will take place July 14 at 7 p.m. in the George Royal Room at Hastings.