10/08/2008 11:00PM

Weight shift should help Holy Nova


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Holy Nova should be able to avenge her recent loss to Against the Sky when the pair meet in the Grade 3, $125,000 Ballerina at Hastings on Saturday. The 1 1/8-mile Ballerina drew eight fillies and mares and goes as the eighth race.

Holy Nova, trained by Troy Taylor, was upset by Against the Sky in the $53,000 Delta Colleen on Sept. 20. The weight-for-age conditions of the Ballerina work in Holy Nova's favor, however. The Delta Colleen was a handicap, in which Holy Nova carried 126 pounds, 12 more than Against the Sky. In the Ballerina, they will both carry 123 pounds. The two 3-year-olds in the race, Blue Sky Holiday and Lecturing Lynn, will carry 120 pounds.

With four stakes wins, Holy Nova has been the best older female in Western Canada this year. Nonetheless, her trainer, Troy Taylor, isn't thrilled with the way she is coming up to the Ballerina.

"She is the best horse in the race, but she's been going steadily for over a year and isn't the freshest horse around," he said. "We'll give her a break after the Ballerina."

Mario Gutierrez will ride Holy Nova.

After dominating three straight $8,000 starter handicap races, Against the Sky jumped up to try stakes company in the Delta Colleen, where she led from start to finish. With Lecturing Lynn in the field there should be an honest pace. Against the Sky, trained by Craig MacPherson, is versatile, however, and doesn't need the lead in order to win.

Frank Fuentes rides Against the Sky.

Tanika has been a gem of consistency throughout her career. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred, Tanika has finished first or second in 16 of her 17 starts. The only time she didn't hit the board was in the 2007 B.C. Oaks, where she had a less than perfect trip. Trained by Barry Brown, Tanika is coming off a win in the $74,000 Matron Stakes at Assiniboia Downs on Sept. 20. In two starts against Holy Nova at Northlands Park this year, she finished second both times.

Historically, 3-year-old fillies have fared well in the Ballerina. The connections of B.C. Oaks winner Blue Sky Holiday are hoping the trend continues on Saturday.

Elkhart ships in from Woodbine, where she easily won a $32,000 claiming race on Aug. 31. She was claimed out of the race, and her new trainer, Terry Jordan, wins at a 45 percent clip when he runs them back the first time, according to DRF's Formulator.