08/23/2009 11:00PM

Trifecta pack headed to B.C.

Ryan Haynes
Tommy Danzigger wins the Canadian Derby. He and the second- and third-place Scorewithcater and It Happened Again will meet again.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The first three finishers in last Saturday's at Northlands Park - Tommy Danzigger, Scorewithcater, and It Happened Again - are all being pointed to the Grade 3, $250,000 B.C. Derby at Hastings on Sept. 27.

Tommy Danzigger benefited from a cagey ride from Pedro Alvarado to win the premier race at Northlands by 1 1/2 lengths. Alvarado eased Tommy Danzigger off of a relative quick first quarter-mile set by Theglow, but then took control of the race while setting slow fractions. Tommy Danzigger was comfortably in front after a half-mile in 49.80 seconds. Alvarado geared him down to get six furlongs in 1:16.20, and he had plenty of horse left when Scorewithcater made a late move to come within a length at the top of the stretch. Tommy Danzigger was actually pulling away at the wire, and it looked like they could have gone around again and they weren't going to beat him. Final time for the 1 3/8-mile race was 2:23.

Officials at Northlands estimated the attendance at more than 10,000. The total mutuel handle of $1,084,315 was the largest there in nine years. The total for the Canadian Derby was $288,926, more than $40,000 over last year.

Tommy Danzigger arrived back at Hastings early Wednesday morning. His trainer, Rob Gilker, drove the van and was at home recovering from the long trip. According to Gilker's wife and assistant trainer, Vicki Gilker, Tommy Danzigger came out of the race in great shape. She is also the exercise rider for the Canadian Derby winner.

"He came out of the race great, and he seems to be happy to be home," said Gilker. "Rob wasn't sure if he was going to give him a week off at the farm or just take it easy with him here."

There was a scary incident for the connections of Tommy Danzigger, which include owner Ted Smith, when he was being led to the paddock for the race.

"Something spooked him, and he reared up and just about got loose," said Gilker. "Thankfully Rob got behind him right away and helped get him straightened out. He was pretty wound up when we got to the paddock, but obviously he was fine when he made it to the track."

Scorewithcater, who shipped in from Southern California for the race, will remain with trainer Jim Meyaard at Northlands. In California he was trained by Doug O'Neill.

"He came back real well," said Meyaard. "I'll talk with Doug about how we're going to bring him up to the race and see if we want to fly him out there or send him by van."

Meyaard is also planning on bringing Salt Flat Speed out for the $50,000 Derby B & G Express the same day and Jasper's Valentine for the $50,000 Delta Colleen on Sept. 26.

Salt Flat Speed easily handled a strong field of older horses in a 6 1/2-furlong classified allowance race on Saturday. Jasper's Valentine finished third in the $75,000 City of Edmonton Stakes won by Summer Song on Sunday.

Trainer Terry Jordan was disappointed with the third-place finish of It Happened Again. It Happened Again was making his first start for Jordan after recently being purchased by Peter Redekop. He was previously trained by Larry Jones. It Happened Again lost by only 2 1/2 lengths, and he finished seven lengths clear of the fourth-place finisher, Stylish Citizen, who was the lukewarm favorite at just below 3-1.

"I just thought he would run a better race," said Jordan. "He came out of the race in good shape, and we'll try and beat them in Vancouver. Congratulations to Rob and Ted, and I honestly don't mind seeing the money going back to Vancouver."

Jordan won the $75,000 Sonoma Stakes for 3-year-old fillies with La Rocca. Ridden by Quincy Welch, La Rocca led most of the way in the 1 1/16-mile feature and easily held off a late move by Ochoa to win by 2 1/4 lengths.

According to Jordan, La Rocca will also be heading to Hastings to run in the $125,000 B.C. Oaks on Sept. 26.

Two indicators told the story

Handicapping can be an extremely complex and inexact science. There are plenty of reasons why hundreds of books have been written about the subject. Nonetheless, anyone who kept it simple when analyzing the Canadian Derby would have been rewarded with a $19.30 payoff.

Using the last-race Beyer Speed Figure, and more importantly the Tomlinson Figures supplied by the Daily Racing Form, Tommy Danzigger stood out. His last-race Beyer Figure of 94 was the second-best in the field, behind Scorewithcater's 96 for finishing third in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park. Tommy Danzigger's 376 Tomlinson figure for the grueling distance, however, was by far the best in the race and 102 points higher than Scorewithcater's 274.

Who said this game was complicated?