07/14/2010 6:38PM

Almost all appear contenders in feature


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – A solid group of seven older horses will compete in Friday’s feature at Hastings, a $25,000 claiming race at 6 1/2 furlongs.

The first post has been moved up to 1:40 p.m. because of a British Columbia Lions game at Empire Fields that begins at 7:00 p.m. Empire Fields is located on the same site as Hastings.

Other than Good Bad N Ugly, who wants more distance and is making his first start since Nov. 9, a case could be made for any of the horses in the field.

From the rail out here’s how they line up.

Slew’s Boy just missed by a neck to Raising Memo in a similar race June 25. Trained by Robbie Anderson, Slews Boy has good tactical speed and should get a stalking trip from just off of what figures to be a lively pace.

Good Bad N Ugly will look a lot better when he stretches out for trainer Pat Jarvis.

Sir Gallant was the short-priced favorite in Slew’s Boy race, and he set an honest pace before giving in grudgingly to finish third, a neck behind Slew’s Boy. Trained by Jim Ellickson, Sir Gallant has compiled an impressive 7-2-2 record from 12 starts at Hastings.

Afleet Deal also has good speed and will likely battle it out with Sir Gallant early. Leading trainer Troy Taylor is experimenting by taking the blinkers off for the first time in Afleet Deal’s nine-race career, which has yielded three wins.

Soldiers Return, trained by Terry Clyde, is dropping back to the same price he won two straight races at on May 14 and 28. In his latest start he finished a close third to Huffman in a $35,000 optional race June 12.

Bearempire is coupled with Afleet Deal and they complement each other well. Afleet Deal will ensure an honest pace and Bearempire won’t be heard from until the late stages of the race. He came from well back to win a $17,500 claiming race in his first start this year on July 1. Taylor claimed him out of the race and in according to DRF’s Formulator, he has a 20 percent strike rate when he runs them back the first time.Pop Artist, trained by Dino Condilenios, likes to stalk and he seems to run better when he is outside of horses. He could get a perfect trip from his outside post.