05/27/2002 12:00AM

VanOverschot shoots for top


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Robert VanOverschot is off to the best start of his career, and with a barn full of runners he stands an excellent chance of winning the trainer's race this year.

He is currently tied with Jim Loseth for the top spot with eight wins, but VanOverschot thinks he has the kind of stable that will land him in the winner's circle enough times to give him a chance at his first training title.

"I have a lot of young horses that have ability, and with all of their conditions available, they should win quite a few races," he said.

VanOverschot has already turned loose a few nice 3-year-olds at the meet and is considering a trip to Calgary for the Alberta Derby with Lord Shogun on June 15. Lord Shogun is also nominated to the 6 1/2-furlong Klondike, which goes this Sunday, but VanOverschot wasn't sure if he was running.

"We'd rather go long with him," he said, "and while I think he'll relax, he probably needs to be in front to do it. If Commodore Craig goes Sunday, we probably won't. He's got so much speed and Lord Shogun would have a hard time taking back off of it." Commodore Craig's trainer, Robbie Anderson, said that he will be entering the Klondike.

Lord Shogun isn't the only nice 3-year old in VanOverschot's barn, though. Jovocop made a very nice move going four wide around the stretch turn to win his maiden race for $35,000 in his first start. Tens Are Wild is now 2 for 2 and looked good beating a $35,000 optional field last Sunday. The trainer's best one could be Bold'n Keen, who finished second in a maiden special weight race May 18. Saying he had an eventful trip is a bit of an understatement.

VanOverschot gave a replay of the race.

First, rider Davie Wilson slipped from his irons leaving the gate, then Bold'n Keen "didn't like getting hit in the face with dirt going into the first turn. Then he ran off and got into trouble on the backstretch and still might have won if he didn't duck out when Davie hit him left-handed down the lane. He's pretty green, but he has a lot of ability. He's also ratable, while Lord Shogun looks like he has just one way of going."

The final time in the race, won by The Jones Boy, was an excellent 1:18.07 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

VanOverschot also said that he had a 3-year-old Game Plan colt named Strategic Intrigue who should be ready to start in about a month. The trainer is high on some of his 2-year-olds, but they won't be ready until the middle of June.

The first stakes race for 2-year-old colts and geldings isn't until July 14, but don't be surprised if you see a first-time starter win the race. So far there have been five 2-year-old races at the meet, and fillies have won four of them. All five races have been open to both males and females.

Runners from south of two borders

Mexico has supplied Hastings Park with plenty of jockeys in the past but rarely have horses made the journey all the way to Canada.

Juan Lara has sent trainer Richard Yates three horses from Mexico and two have already started at the meet. Continental Success makes his third start of the meet in the second race Wednesday, and Clasica, who won her maiden in her only start in Mexico City last year, finished fifth after breaking slowly in an $11,000 claiming race last Sunday.

Yates's other horse in training at Hastings is a 2-year-old by Western Trick.

"Mr. Lara is planning to move up here as soon as he gets his immigration papers signed," said Yates. "He also has three broodmares up here and has a maiden in Southern California that he's planning to ship up soon."

Lara has his own trainer's license in Mexico but will likely retain Yates as his trainer when he arrives. "Whatever he does is fine with me, but it sounds like he'll be pretty busy when he moves up here, so I'll probably keep the horses for a while anyway," said Yates.