09/25/2009 12:00AM

Teide looks the top pick

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Teide, Chad Hoverson up, wins the S W Randall Plate last time out, beating Spaghetti Mouse by 4 3/4 lengths.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Teide figures to be a short-priced favorite in the $50,000 Sir Winston Churchill Handicap at Hastings on Sunday. The 1 1/8-mile race for older horses is the supporting feature to the Grade 3, $275,000 British Columbia Derby. Older horses will also contest the six-furlong $50,000 Derby Bar and Grill Express.

After Teide easily won the S W Randall Plate by 4 3/4 lengths over Spaghetti Mouse on Sept. 9, trainer Dino Condilenios was considering passing on the Churchill and waiting for the Grade 3, $100,000 Premiers on Oct. 18.

"He's just doing extremely well right now," said Condilenios. "The Premiers is a mile and three-eighths, and I don't want to go into it off of a six-week layoff. Unless we take him to Woodbine, he's only going to run twice more this year, anyway."

Chad Hoverson rides Teide.

Spaghetti Mouse looks like the main threat. Trained by Lenore Daponte, Spaghetti Mouse had been off for two months when he finished second to Teide in the Randall.

"Hopefully he'll move forward off of his last race," said Daponte. "He is certainly training well enough."

Gallon, trained by Jim Penney, will ship in from Emerald Downs, where he won a $40,000 optional sprint on Sept. 6. In his previous start, he finished eighth in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile. Teide also ran in the Mile, finishing third.

Gallon's last stakes win was in the 2008 Emerald Derby. He actually finished second but was moved up to first via disqualification. He has placed in two stakes at Emerald this year. His tactical speed should serve him well in his first start at Hastings.

Bank Emblem looks tough

Bank Emblem looks like the one to beat in the Derby Bar and Grill Express. Trained by Rob Gilker, Bank Emblem broke poorly and was still able to win the PNE Presidents Speed Handicap on Sept. 7. Gilker also trains Tommy Danzigger, who is the morning line favorite in the B.C. Derby.

"They are both coming up to their races in great shape," said Gilker. "Bank Emblem showed a new dimension to us when he came from last. Tommy Danzigger is just the best horse I've ever trained."

Bank Emblem will be ridden by Frank Fuentes.

Holy Nova, trained by Troy Taylor, easily won the Strawberry Morn Stakes for fillies and mares on Sept. 7 and will tackle males for the first time. The main reason Holy Nova is in with the boys is that Taylor has three older filly and mare stakes horses in his barn. All three are owned by Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella and two of them, Summer Song and Lady Raj, are running in the Delta Colleen on Saturday.

"It's a tough spot, but Holy Nova is a pretty nice mare," said Taylor. "We'll probably run all three in the hundred-grander."

He was referring to the Grade 3, $125,000 Ballerina on Oct. 17.

McCanna picks his spot

A double draw was used to determine post positions for the B.C. Derby and first choice went to trainer Tim McCanna, who chose post 4 for Rooster City.

"I wanted an inside post, and I also wanted him to be loaded second to last," said McCanna. "I didn't want him sitting in there too long and I didn't want him to be the last one in."

Rooster City is coming off of head loss to Winning Machine in the Emerald Downs Derby on Sept. 7. He also lost by a head to Winning Machine in the Tacoma Handicap.

"He's due to win a photo," said McCanna. "He's run hard, but he's doing really well right now, and hopefully he'll run a good race."

Doris Harwood has two horses in the derby. She chose the rail for Winning Machine and post 7 for Noosa Beach, to be ridden by Jake Barton.

"I talked to Jake and explained how big the horse was and what kind of stride he has," said Harwood. "He knows the track and these turns better than I do, and I asked him what would be better for a big horse. He said definitely put him near the outside, and the 7-hole was available. Winning Machine breaks well and has good tactical speed, so the 1-hole shouldn't hurt him."

A win in the B.C. Derby by McCanna or Harwood would be a nice feather in the cap, but it won't help them in their battle for leading trainer honors at Emerald. Going into the final weekend at Emerald, McCanna has a one-win lead over Harwood.