08/07/2002 11:00PM

Vernon Invader upsets B.C. Cup feature


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Vernon Invader stole the show on B.C. Cup Day as he upset heavily favored Lord Nelson by 2 3/4 lengths in the $72,267 B.C. Cup Classic.

The win was the first in a stakes for apprentice Nicola Wright and she received high praise by Vernon Invader's trainer Alex Murray. "She did exactly what we told her to do," said Murray. "It's not easy to be as patient as she was riding a good horse like Vernon Invader. He only has one move and a lot of times riders will think they have a lot of horse under them, and move too early. She timed her move perfectly."

Vernon Invader paid $44.70 to win, the highest payoff in the eight-year history of the Classic.

A lot of people wear many hats at the racetrack - including Murray, who is also an immigration lawyer - but not many horses wear four different shoes like Vernon Invader. He wears a shoe on his club foot that is glued on and doesn't require nails; a "No Vibe Shoe," which is cushioned, on his other front foot; and on his back feet uses a normal shoe on one foot and a "big patch hind shoe" on the other.

"I'm not sure what they call that one," said Murray, "but it costs more than a buck and a quarter [$125] to shoe him. Ben Gibson, who is out of Seattle, has been shoeing him and he's done a great job."

Vernon Invader won't likely start at Hastings again this year. According to Murray he'll be heading to New Mexico with his owner Bill Smith. "Bill has his own trainer's license. He's got about 10 horses in Seattle and he'll take most of them with him."

Lord Nelson didn't have the best trip, as he was hung three wide outside of third-place finisher Prodigious the whole way. He came out of his race in good shape and will ship to Emerald early next week to start getting ready for the Longacres Mile. "A mile is probably his best distance," said his trainer, Dino Condilenios.

Kid Katabatic out for the year

It would be a disappointing end to Kid Katabatic's career if the Classic was his final race. He finished last after bleeding and will be turned out for the rest of the year, according to his part-owner Keith Ferguson. "We might bring him back next spring but we'll see how he's doing before we make that decision," he said.

Longstaff sweeps juvenile races

The happiest man on the planet Monday was Tom Longstaff, who won both of the B.C. 2-year-old races. Longstaff bred, owns, and trains both Nursery winner Don't Pali Me and Dancewithavixen, who won the Debutante. Longstaff only has three broodmares and it's pretty amazing that two of them would produce stakes winners on the same day. He plans to turn both of them out and bring them back for the Jack and Sadie Diamond Futurities on Sept. 28.

Loseth wins two

Jockey Chris Loseth won two B.C. races, bringing his all-time leading stakes wins at Hastings Park to 199. He was aboard Don't Pali Me in the Nursery and rode Grey Tobe Free to a three-quarters of a length win over Always a Dixie in the Distaff. Trainer Robbie Anderson wasn't sure where Grey Tobe Free would start next but was pointing odds-on Sprint winner King Jeremy to the Hastings Park Speed Handicap on Aug. 18.

Grace for You wins thriller

The most exciting race of the day was the fillies division of the Stallion Stakes, which was won by Grace for You after a stretch long battle with the favorite, Elana d'Amour. The final margin was a neck and Grace for You had to fight back after getting headed by Elana d'Amour at the top of the stretch. Grace for You will make her next start in the $175,000 Grade 3 B.C. Breeders' Cup Oaks on Sept. 7.

Silver Donn reasserted his claim as the top 3-year-old on the grounds with a comfortable three-quarters of a length win over the Jones Boy in the colts and geldings division of the Stallion Stakes. According to his owner, Jim Morgan, he'll make his next start in the Richmond Derby Trial on Sept. 1.

Track officials were happy with the estimated crowd of more than 8,000 and the total live handle of $1,274,707.