05/18/2007 12:00AM

Woodbine Oaks start on the line for Suva


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Steve Henson and owner Jeff Sengara will certainly be paying close attention when Suva runs in the Emerald Downs Stakes at Hastings Sunday. They will also be taking a good look at the Grade 3, $250,000 Selene Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine, also on Sunday.

The Selene is considered the major prep for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks. If Suva runs a big race in the Emerald Downs, they are considering sending her east to take on the best Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies in Canada in the June 10 Oaks, run at 1 1/8 miles.

Suva was the top juvenile filly in British Columbia last year, and she overpowered her opponents in the CTHS Sales Stakes in her first start this year.

"We have a plan A and a plan B," said Henson. "Plan A is that if she runs big we're going to take a shot at the Canadian Oaks. The Oaks is restricted to Canadian-breds, and I think she deserves a shot. She's going to have to run a monster race for us to do that, though."

Suva could be coming up to a "monster race." She was very impressive when she worked six furlongs in 1:12.20 with Pedro Alvarado aboard May 11. Alvarado rarely turns a horse loose when he works them in the mornings.

"I don't know if we can have a horse any better than she is right now," said Henson. "That work was staggering considering that Pedro was up. He's not known for scintillating works, and she was well within herself during the work. She walked one day, went back to training the next, and she's been devouring all of her feed since."

Henson is not that concerned about Suva going into a 1 1/8-mile race off of just two sprints this year. The only time Suva went farther than 6o1/2 furlongs, she won the 1 1/16-mile Fantasy Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths last October.

"She's plenty fit, and she loves to train," said Henson. "Plus, she's a natural route horse. She proved that last year when her best race was in the Fantasy."

The Oaks is an early-closing stakes, and Suva would have to be supplemented to the tune of $12,500 if Henson and Sengara decide to enter her.

"It will be an expensive trip," said Henson. "But if she runs well Sunday she'll have earned it. It's not about the money, anyway. It would be a dream come true. It's the most prestigious race for 3-year-old fillies in Canada, and if we go to Ontario we're aren't going there for the scenery. I'm excited about her, and she makes it easy to get up at 4:15 every morning."

Close call for Morgan

Owner Jim Morgan, 71, was excited just to get up Friday morning. Morgan was on the Hastings backstretch Thursday morning when he suffered a near-fatal heart attack. Thanks to some quick and heroic work by a first-aid attendant, Kin Leung, Morgan was in good spirits talking about the incident from his bed in St. Paul's Hospital in the heart of downtown Vancouver.

"It's a good thing Rob Leakos was there," said Morgan about the presence of a local veterinarian. "I was walking towards the racing office when I started getting dizzy. Rob spotted me, and the next thing I know, I was being put into an ambulance. I was told my heart had completely stopped."

Leakos called 911 and also sent word to Leung, who was working at the gap where horses enter the track in the mornings. Leakos had a nothing but praise for the quick reaction by Leung.

"It was very impressive to watch Kin at work," said Leakos. "He ripped off Jim's shirt and coat and he took complete control of the situation. He had Jean LaVallee jump in and start pumping Jim's chest while he was hooking up the defibrillator. Thankfully Jim came back to life when Kin gave him the shock. Kin was awesome."

LaVallee is another veterinarian.

Morgan was hopeful he would be released from the hospital in time to see a horse he owns, Candy King, run in the second race Saturday.

"They're taking more tests and then they'll decide what to do with me," said Morgan. "It looks like they're probably going to do some kind of bypass."

Morgan races horses with his wife, Vivian. The best horse the Morgans have raced is Silver Donn, whom they also bred. Silver Donn won a couple of stakes races as a 3-year-old in 2002 and is still going strong. He won a $50,000 optional claiming race at Hastings May 5.

Demorest, Jewell remembered

Morgan's recovery helped lift the dampened spirits of many people in the backstretch at Hastings. Memorial services were held last week for trainers Gary Demorest and Ron Jewell. Demorest died April 28 and Jewell died May 10.

Jewell, 74, never had a large stable but he was considered an excellent horseman. The last horse he saddled was Trick of the North, who won the closing-day Au Revoir last year. He was also an assistant to the late Terry Marshall for a long time. He was stabled in the same shed row as Quint McCabe for the past 10 years.

"We had a lot of fun together," said McCabe. "He was very quiet, but he liked to pull the odd trick on you. He was also as dedicated a horseman as you'll ever see."

Jewell is survived by his wife, Lorraine, and their three children. His son Ian Jewell works as a groom for trainer Cindy Krasner and also as a valet at Hastings.