10/02/2008 11:00PM

True Metropolitan gets weight off for Premiers


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - It seems that most of the trainers that nominated horses for the $100,000 Premiers next Sunday were not aware of the conditions of the race. Although it clearly states in the stakes book that it is an allowance stakes and that horses that haven't won $30,000 at a mile or over at least once this year will get some weight off, trainers were under the impression that it was a scale-weight stakes.

Although the Premiers is a traditional championship race, it keeps getting toyed with. One running that caused an uproar was Pole Position's victory in the Premiers in 1979. At the time, the B.C. Derby was a handicap and the Premiers was a scale-weight race. Pole Position carried 130 pounds in the derby and then came back to win the Premiers at 121 pounds. The next year the Premiers was run under handicap conditions.

The tinkering with the conditions of the race probably has a lot to do with the uncommon distance of 1 3/8 miles. It was run under scale-weight conditions in 2001 but was changed back to a handicap in 2002, and it stayed a weighted race until this year.

"We wanted to try and keep the weights down a bit," said Hastings general manager Raj Mutti. "I don't think it's fair to make a horse carry 130 pounds going 1 3/8 miles. Last year True Metropolitan carried 129, and although he earned every pound, it was asking a lot of him."

Because of the weight allowances, the Premiers won't have quite the same significance that it would at equal weights. The horses most affected by the allowance conditions are Spaghetti Mouse and True Metropolitan.

Trained by Lenore Daponte, Spaghetti Mouse has dominated the local handicap horses at Hastings this year. A win by Spaghetti Mouse over True Metropolitan would assure him of being the local horse of the year, and it would also thrust him into the spotlight as a potential Sovereign Award candidate. If he gets beat as the highweight, he has an excuse.

Both camps thought they would be running at equal weights. Under the allowance conditions of the race, however, Spaghetti Mouse will carry 126 pounds, four more than True Metropolitan.

Terry Jordan, who trains True Metropolitan, was pleasantly surprised when he realized the conditions of the race.

"I had no idea that True Metropolitan would be getting weight off," he said. "I am tickled that he's getting a break this time. Usually they pile it on."

True Metropolitan gets the four pounds off because he has won just one race at a mile or over this year. He won the 2006 Premiers carrying 123 pounds.

Trainer Troy Taylor was also pleased to find out that Texas Wildcatter gets in at 109 pounds. Texas Wildcatter carried 126 pounds when he finished third to Krazy Koffee in the B.C. Derby. The top weight for a 3-year-old in the Premiers is 121 pounds. Texas Wildcatter, who hasn't won a race this year but was the favorite in the derby, gets 12 pounds off for being a non-winner of $13,000.

"No complaints here," Taylor said.

Cindy Krasner, who trains, Krazy Koffee, also had no idea about the conditions of the race. The B.C. Derby winner will carry 121 pounds.

"I figured he would get in with 120 or 121 pounds anyway," said Krasner. "I would rather see it as a scale-weight race, but it's not going to change our plans. We're going to run."

Condilenios confident going into Jack Diamond

Trainer Dino Condilenios likes his chances with Almost Time in the $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity on Sunday.

Almost Time began the year in the Robbie Anderson barn. He was moved to Condilenios when he was bought privately by Swift Thoroughbreds Inc. following his second-place finish to El Sinaloense in the B.C. Cup Nursery on Aug. 4.

In his first start for his new connections, he finished second to Millwright in a maiden special weight race on Aug. 23. He was clearly much the best in the race, but he broke poorly and then hung after taking the lead at the top of the stretch. He also broke a bit flat-footed in his next start; however, he recovered quickly, and once he gathered himself he drew off to win by more than 12 lengths.

Condilenios likes the way his horse is coming into the futurity.

"I like him a lot, and he seems to be peaking right now," said Condilenios. "It seems like he's getting better and stronger every time I do anything with him. He's squealing in the stall and hollering every time he sees the bridle. He's as happy as can be."

Condlilenios's only concern going into the futurity is Almost Time's bad habit of breaking slowly. Some of his concerns were alleviated when Almost Time drew the outside post in the nine-horse field.

"I would rather have him out there than on the inside," said Condilenios. "We're still schooling him, and hopefully he'll get it right one day."

Condilenios has won the Sadie Diamond Futurity twice, and he's hoping to win his first Jack Diamond Futurity on Sunday. He is hoping for bigger and better things down the road, though.

"If all goes well we'll bring him back in the Ascot Graduation," he said. "I'm hoping he's going to be my derby horse next year."