08/17/2006 11:00PM

Tightly bunched pack atop trainer standings

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The trainer's race at Hastings is starting to heat up. Through last weekend, Terry Jordan and Terry Clyde were tied for the lead with 26 wins. Close on their heels were Barb Heads and Gary Demorest, who won his first training title last year. Heads has won 24 races at the meet, good for third place, and Demorest is fourth with 23 wins.

If either Clyde or Heads, who are sisters-in-law, finishes on top of the standings, it would be the first time at Hastings that a female trainer has won the title. Considering the makeup of their stables, it could go either way.

Both have roughly 30 horses in training. Heads has a more balanced stable, with stakes horses and claiming horses for just about every category. On the other hand, Clyde has mostly lower-level claiming horses.

"I think Barb has the better chance of winning the title because she has a lot better horses to play with," said Clyde. "Plus, we've turned out some of our best 2-year-olds in order to bring them back as nice 3-year-olds."

Heads wasn't so sure about her close friend's analysis.

"It just depends on which races fill," she said. "I still have a lot of horses ready to run, but as the season winds down Terry could have the edge, because the cheaper races tend to fill a lot easier. Plus her horses are eligible for more conditions than mine.

"Really, whoever gets to run the most horses is probably going to be the deciding factor in which one of us has the most wins at the end of the season."

Heads also views the tight race as a positive thing for the local industry.

"I think it's great that the wins are being spread out around the barn area and that not just one trainer is winning all the races," she said. "It makes for a healthy racing environment and keeps a lot of people happy."

All four of the trainers involved aren't that concerned about which one will lead the standings at the end of the meet. Demorest, who is proud of winning the title last year, summed up their feelings about the tight race.

"We're here every day just trying to win races," said Demorest. "If I end up being leading trainer at the end of the meet, well, that's great. The first one's always the biggest accomplishment. It's something that you can really enjoy after the meet is over. For now, we're just out here working hard."

Jordan focused on Chile's Quest

Although Jordan has led the standings most of the year, he's not going to be on top when the meet ends. He just doesn't have the number of horses it will take, and he's usually in Mexico for the last month of the meet anyway.

Jordan's main concern right now is getting a race into Chile's Quest. The trainer was relieved when a $75,000 optional race Sunday in which he had entered Chile's Quest filled with five horses. Jordan is pointing Chile's Quest toward the British Columbia Derby.

A Kentucky-bred by Coronado's Quest, Chile's Quest appears to have the talent to contend in the derby, but it's hard to say if he has the mental makeup to win a Grade 3 race.

In his first planned start for Jordan, the Count Latham Stakes at Northlands on Aug. 6, he acted up in the paddock and in the post parade before he pitched a fit in the starting gate, which necessitated his being scratched. Jordan sent him back to the gate to work a very impressive 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.60 here Aug. 12.

Chile's Quest arrived here from Arlington Park, where he won a seven-furlong $50,000 optional claiming race in his last start there, on June 15.

"I just want to run him once to see where we are with him," said Jordan. "He's been a handful since he arrived here, but he seems to be settling down now. Hopefully we'll get this race into him and then point him towards the [Richmond] Derby Trial."

Hurry an Notis deserves a look

Hurry an Notis is another horse deserving of special attention Sunday. Trained by Tracy McCarthy, Hurry an Notis won a maiden special weight race by 14 1/2 lengths July 30 in easily the most impressive performance by a 3-year-old filly at the meet.

Hurry an Otis has started only three times in her career and just twice this year. She will be stretching out to 1 1/16 miles for the first time Sunday, and McCarthy is pretty sure she'll handle the move to a middle distance.

"She's bred for it, and she certainly trains like she'll go at least that far," she said. "She's a much bigger and leggier horse than Notis Otis, and I think she's going to be very hard to catch Sunday."

Hurry an Notis is a full sister to multiple stakes winner Notis Otis, whom McCarthy also trains.

McCarthy won the Grade 3 British Columbia Breeders' Cup Oaks with Monashee last year, and said she was pointing Hurry an Otis in the same direction.

"If she runs well Sunday, the timing of it works out perfectly," she said.

The Oaks is scheduled for Sept. 23.

* Darrell Bauder was the winner of the handicapping tournament sponsored by Daily Racing Form and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association at Hastings last weekend. Along with Bauder, the second- and third-place finishers, Susan Milburn and Mike Brady, also earned a trip to the $800,000 DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas next January.