10/21/2009 11:00PM

Trick of the North earns a vacation

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trick of the North earned the winter off with his upset win over Teide in the Grade 3, $109,214 Premiers last Sunday at Hastings. An 8-year-old gelding, Trick of the North was making his 50th start and it turned out to be the best race of his career.

Actually, this has been the most productive season for Trick of the North. Six of his 13 wins came this year, and his win in the Premiers was the first time he had won a stakes. The $66,911 he earned for the Aurora Stables brought his earnings to $406,066.

According to his trainer, Barbara Heads, Trick of the North came out of the race in excellent shape, but he will still get a well-deserved break.

"He is really doing well and he thinks he's invincible right now," said Heads. "He deserves a rest, though. He started out in California last winter and he has run a lot of hard races. He's not over-raced, but he's not a young horse and it will be nice to have him back as a fresh horse next year."

Heads credits the bond between Trick of the North and jockey Robert Skelly for much of his success this year.

"They just get along, those two," said Heads. "Skelly just leaves him alone, and at 8 years old he knows where he's comfortable and how he likes to run his race. It's been a good match."

Teide rerouted to Woodbine

The dream of running Teide in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile came to an end when he got beat in the last jump by Trick of the North. Teide went into the Premiers off a 9 1/4-length win in the Sir Winston Churchill, and if he had run a similar race his connections said they would consider taking him to Santa Anita to run in the Breeders' Cup. Instead, Teide will show up at Woodbine for the Grade 2, $150,000 Autumn Stakes on Nov. 14.

"That's why you don't make plans before a race," said trainer Dino Condilenios. "I think everyone was hyping it up a little too much."

The wet track conditions may have contributed to Teide's loss and he was also a bit too sharp in the 1 3/8-mile race. Although the fractions were moderate, Teide seemed eager during the early stages of the race when he was stalking the leader, Surprisal. He took over the lead around the six-furlong mark and then came up a head short when Trick of the North made his strong late move.

"He was on the bit the whole way and he just wouldn't relax," said Condilenios. "He didn't like the track, either. It's just one of those things. No excuses, though. He just got beat."

All six of Teide's wins have come on dirt but he should handle the Polytrack at Woodbine if he runs in the Autumn. He ran well over Polytrack at Keeneland, earning a 98 Beyer Speed Figure for his third-place finish in a second-level optional $50,000 claiming race won by Dubious Miss. The race stood up as Dubious Miss went on to win his next two starts and lost by a neck in the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park on Sept. 26. Teide would also seem better suited to the 1 1/16 miles of the Autumn than the grueling 11 furlongs of the Premiers.

"For sure we are going to nominate Teide to the race," said Condilenios of the Autumn. "He's doing really well. We'll give him a few days off and then put him back in training this weekend. At least it's something to think about."

Holy Nova gets some time off

Holy Nova wrapped up local divisional honors with a win over La Rocca in the Grade 3, $124,575 Ballerina for fillies and mares last Saturday. According to her trainer, Troy Taylor, she has been sent to Pegasus Training Center in Washington, where she will get a good rest.

"She's a healthy and happy horse right now and we're going to give her a little time off," said Taylor. "The Ballerina was our main goal for her and now that she's a graded stakes winner she can rest on her laurels for a while."

Odds-on favorite La Rocca and Holy Nova both broke sharply and raced as a team the whole race. Jockey Mario Gutierrez kept La Rocca and jockey Fernando Perez on the inside of Holy Nova the whole way, and the rail probably wasn't the place to be with the track soaked by a downpour just prior to the race.

"Every time Fernando tried to get La Rocca off the rail, Mario wouldn't let him," said La Rocca's trainer, Terry Jordan, in praising his opponent's ride. "The outcome might have been different if the post positions were reversed."

Jordan said La Rocca came out of the race in good shape and will probably run in the seven-furlong $150,000 Bessarabian Stakes at Woodbine on Nov. 22.

* Lady Raj has been sold and is on her way to Australia, where she will be bred by her new owner, said Taylor, who trained her. A Florida-bred by El Prado out of Perfect Raj, Lady Raj retired with two stakes wins and $249,633 in earnings.