10/08/2009 11:00PM

Teide's team facing a timing dilemma


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The Grade 3, $100,000 Premiers is traditionally the premier race for 3-year-olds and up at Hastings. Last year trainer Dino Condilenios won the Premiers with Rosberg, and there is an excellent chance he's going to win it again next Sunday with Teide.

If Condilenios had his druthers, however, he would skip the Premiers with Teide and run in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. The timing of the two races presents a huge problem for Condilenios and the owners of Teide, Swift Thoroughbreds Inc. They won't know if Teide will get into the Breeders' Cup race until after the Premiers is over. If they knew they were getting into the Dirt Mile, they wouldn't be running in the Premiers.

"Nominations for the Breeders' Cup close on the Monday following the Premiers, so we have no idea if he is going to get into the race or not," said Condilenios. "Our hands are pretty much tied, so we're going to run in the Premiers."

It is possible Teide will also run in the Breeders' Cup, but there are a couple of hurdles to overcome. First he has to get into the race, and secondly he can't knock himself out in the Premiers. From the way Teide won his last two races here, the second part of the equation shouldn't be a problem. Condilenios isn't taking anything for granted, however.

"They run the races for a reason," said Condilenios. "And when you're going a mile and three-eighths, no matter what you do it takes something out of you. Besides there are a couple of nice horses he'll have to run against, especially Krazy Koffee. He almost won the race last year, so we know he can go that far. Trick of the North is a pretty sharp horse right now, too."

If Teide didn't have such a rough trip in the Longacres Mile, a Win and You're In race, getting into the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile might not be an issue. Despite getting bumped at the five-sixteenths pole and getting stuck between horses late, he still finished third and he only got beat by three-quarters of a length.

"Actually his race in the Mile was what got us looking at the Breeders' Cup," said Condilenios. "He had a less-than-perfect trip, and Awesome Gem only beat him by a nose. When I see Awesome Gem winning the Hawthorne Gold Cup, and it looks like he's going to be one of the top four horses in the race, well, it shows us Teide wouldn't be out of his league."

Teide seems to have improved quite a bit since he ran in the Longacres Mile. In his next two starts, both at Hastings, he was the easiest of winners in the S.W. Randall Plate and the Sir Winston Churchill.

"I think he has really blossomed mentally," said Condilenios. "I just wish the timing of the races were different. It would have been perfect if the Premiers was a week or two earlier and we knew if he was going to get into the Breeders' Cup. Bringing him back in three weeks going from a mile and three-eighths to a mile isn't optimal. He's a pretty special horse, though, so if we can make it happen we will. Who knows, but that's what dreams are made of."

Because of Teide's presence and the absence of a top 3-year-old, the Premiers won't be as interesting as it traditionally is. A lot of times the winner of the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby takes a shot at older horses in the Premiers. The first three finishers this year - Winning Machine, Jersey Town, and Noosa Beach - are no longer here and won't be running. Also, the top local 3-year-old, Tommy Danzigger, has been turned out for the year with a minor injury. In fact, none of the seven horses nominated to the Premiers is a 3-year-old.

Most of the ones nominated aren't that interested in running against Teide, and it looks like it will be a short field.

Trainer Lenore Daponte was noncommittal about running Spaghetti Mouse in the Premiers. The all-time leading money-earning B.C.-bred with $889,456, Spaghetti Mouse has run in the Premiers twice, finishing second in 2007 and third last year. Spaghetti Mouse hasn't won a race this year and is eligible for a couple of conditional races coming up, so Daponte is considering running him against easier company.

"We haven't made up our minds," she said. "We could still end up in the Premiers, but nothing has been decided for sure yet."

La Rocca taking on elders

The Grade 3, $125,000 Ballerina next Saturday will pit a top 3-year-old filly against older fillies and mares. La Rocca, winner of the $122,000 British Columbia Oaks on Sept 26, is going to be entered. She tuned up for the Ballerina with a sharp five-furlong work in 1:00.80 seconds Thursday. With jockey Fernando Perez aboard, she set fractions of 24.40, 36.20, and 48.60 before galloping out six-furlongs in 1:14.40.

Her trainer, Terry Jordan, seemed to be in a good mood when he was asked about the move.

"I don't know," he said. "You tell me. Was it too fast or too slow? I'll have to ask Anita."

He was referring to Anita Bolton, his assistant trainer at Woodbine. Jordan is obviously pleased with the way La Rocca is coming into the Ballerina.