Tommy Danzigger, upset winner of the Canadian Derby (Can-III) at Northlands Park last month, returns home to Hastings Park as the likely favorite in the $275,000 British Columbia Derby (Can-III), Western Canada's premier racing event of the year Sept. 27.
The locally-bred son of High Demand faces eight 3-year-old rivals in the 1 1/8-mile BC Derby, including four shipping across the border from Emerald Downs.
Owned by Edgar (Ted) Smith and trained by Rob Gilker, Tommy Danzigger is coming off back-to-back stakes triumphs. He returns to Hastings, where he made the first eight starts of his career prior to his successful foray to Edmonton for the Canadian, a race in which he fought off a late challenge from Scorewithcater for a 1 1/2-length score.
The win, at odds of 8-1, came in the graded stakes debut for Tommy Danzigger, a $12,352 yearling who now owns a 3-3-2 career mark in nine starts and earnings of $322,446.
Jockey Pedro Alvarado looks for his third victory in the BC Derby after winning in 2003 and 2006. They will break from post 8.
Invading from Washington is a quartet of contenders, including a pair from the powerful Doris Harwood stable, Noosa Beach and Winning Machine.
The latter won the Emerald Downs Derby Sept. 7 by a head over Rooster City, who is also in the BC Derby field. Gallyn Mitchell takes over the riding duties on Winning Machine from Ricky Frazier. The Toccet gelding has won three of fives starts this year, including the Tacoma Handicap in June.
The Harwood homebred Noosa Beach has been freshened since a runner-up finish in the Seattle Slew Handicap at Emerald Aug. 2. The Harbor the Gold gelding won the Auburn Stakes and Pepsi Cola Handicap in succession this spring.
Also coming from Emerald Downs is Quinalt, who makes a quick turnaround following a 1 1/4-length win in the Trooper Seven Stakes for trainer Carlos Moreno.
Trainer Barbara Heads will be looking after the fortunes of Jersey Town on behalf of owner Charles Fipke, who has had some outstanding horses on the major U.S. circuit. Jersey Town, from the Barclay Tagg stable, has been shipped to Vancouver from Monmouth Park. Three of his last four wins have come on sloppy tracks and he ran second most recently in the Restoration Stakes on turf.
Ganbei, a stunning $60.30 winner in Hastings' Richmond Derby Trial Handicap on Sept. 7 for trainer Mel Snow, brings a three-race winning streak for R J T Thoroughbreds after being switched to middle distances this summer. With Geovanni Franco aboard, the BC-bred son of Vying Victor outfought Gather de Justice in the final strides for a neck victory in the trial event Sept. 7.
Gather de Justice, trained by leading Hastings conditioner Troy Taylor, as well as third-place finisher Senor Rojo return in the BC Derby.
Owned by Glen Todd and Parick Kinsella, Gather de Justice had won three consecutive claiming races under jockey Mario Gutierrez prior to the loss to Ganbei. Gather de Justice has won seven of 18 career starts.
The BC Derby is the marquee event, but the weekend at Hastings includes five stakes with purses valued at $550,000. On the Derby undercard are the $50,000 Sir Winston Churchill Handicap and the $50,000 Derby Bar & Grill Express. The $125,000 BC Oaks headlines a Sept. 26 program that includes the $50,000 Delta Colleen Handicap.
$275,000 British Columbia Derby (Can-III, Race 8, 5:29 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Jersey Town (KY), A Cuthbertson, B Heads
2. Rooster City (KY), S B Martinez, T McCanna
3. Noosa Beach (WA), J Barton, D Harwood
4. Winning Machine (KY), G V Mitchell, D Harwood
5. Ganbei (BC), G Franco, M Snow
6. Gather de Justice (CA), M Gutierrez, T Taylor
7. Senor Rojo (KY), R H Hamel, D Forster
8. Tommy Danzigger (BC), P V Alvarado, R Gilker
9. Quinalt (WA), F P Fuentes, C Moreno