05/05/2010 11:00PM

Tough spot for Teide's comeback


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Teide, the local horse of the year in 2009, will make his seasonal debut when he faces five other older horses in the $50,000 George Royal Stakes at Hastings on Saturday.

Trained by Dino Condilenios, Teide dominated the older handicap division at Hastings last year. Beginning with the $101,000 Lieutenant Governors on July 1, Teide reeled off three straight stakes wins locally, including a 9 1/4-length romp in the Winston Churchill on Sept. 27. After his win in the Lieutenant Governors, Teide shipped to Emerald Downs, where he finished an unlucky third in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile. Despite breaking a step slow and getting bumped at the five-sixteenths pole, he still rallied to just miss behind Assessment and Awesome Gem.

Teide, who will be ridden by Chad Hoverson, is a much better horse going a middle distance. Nonetheless, he can sprint and according to Condilenios he is coming up to Saturday's 6 1/2-furlong race in excellent shape.

"He's training very well," said Condilenios, who is off to a strong start at the young meet with 3 wins from his first 14 starters. "People don't think he can sprint because he didn't win the George Royal last year. He got shuffled back in the race, otherwise he might have won."

Proving Condilenios's point, Teide followed up his fifth-place finish in the 2009 George Royal with a win going 6 1/2 furlongs in a $50,000 optional claiming race.

Condilenios will also saddle proven sprint stakes winner Almost Time, who is coming off a sharp score in a classified allowance race that carried a $50,000 claiming option on opening day. A 4-year-old gelding, Almost Time won the Jack Diamond Futurity as a 2-year-old and the Jim Colman Province last year.

Seminole Brave is back to defend his title and could get overlooked in the wagering. Trained by Mel Snow, Seminole Brave finished fourth as the favorite in the race Almost Time won April 24. He did have an excuse, though, as he was forced to steady going past the grandstand the first time. Seminole Brave drew the rail on Saturday and if he breaks alertly he should get a nice trip from just off Woombroom Express.

Grade 3 Canadian Derby winner Tommy Danzigger and Texas Wildcatter round out the strong field.