10/22/2003 11:00PM

Alvarado returns on 'Class'


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Racing fans will mostly be focused on the Breeders' Cup on Saturday, but there's also live racing, and the feature is a $35,000 optional race for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

Leading rider Pedro Alvarado was aboard Class Choice, one of the leading contenders in Saturday's race, when she won a $25,000 claiming race Aug. 17. He also rode her when she broke slowly and rallied strongly to finish third in a $50,000 optional race Sept. 7. Alvarado abandoned her when she was hopelessly overmatched in the Grade 3 British Columbia Oaks Sept. 20, but he sees fit to ride her Saturday in what appears to be a wide-open event.

Class Choice will need a contested pace to chase, and that may not happen. Class Choice is owned and trained by Juan Olmos.

Cindy Krasner will saddle Montana Carmella, who is dropping off of a dull effort in the Delta Colleen. A Devil's Bag 4-year-old filly, Montana Carmella was up close for the first six furlongs of the Delta Colleen but stopped badly and finished last. She's had two solid works since, and she should get a nice stalking trip just behind Vying Princess, who is questionable at the distance.

The last time Montana Carmella ran at this level she was an easy four-length winner Aug. 17. Nicola Wright rides.

Vying Princess has the best speed in the field and could find herself loose on the lead, but she's winless in five tries at the distance.

Live racing begins at 1:10 pm. Because of the early starts at racetracks across North America, Hastings will open its doors at 7:30 a.m.