05/15/2009 12:00AM

Bank Emblem ready for 09 debut

Email

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - A very classy group of older horses will battle it out in the third race at Hastings. Only five horses have been entered in the third-level allowance race, which carries a $75,000 claiming option. Nonetheless, it shapes up as a very good betting race, and it is difficult to predict which horse will come out on top.

Bank Emblem could end up the favorite in the 6 1/2-furlong feature. Trained by Rob Gilker, Bank Emblem runs well fresh and he has looked very sharp in his workouts this spring. Last year Bank Emblem came off of a more than five-month layoff to win a $45,000 optional race at Stampede Park on April 6. He also won his next two starts. The only time he finished out of the money in nine starts last year was in the PNE Presidents Speed Handicap, where he broke a step slowly and then chased a quick pace while racing wide.

"What can I say?" said Gilker. "He loves a bullring and he likes to win. He is just a really nice horse to be around. It's a tough field of horses but he's is coming up to the race perfectly and I expect he'll run another strong race."

Frank Fuentes rides Bank Emblem.

Texas Wildcatter showed surprising speed in his win over Cabron in a $50,000 optional sprint on April 26. With the very fast And All That Jazz and Bank Emblem in the field, Texas Wildcatter is more likely to come from slightly off of the pace in Sunday's race.

Trained by Troy Taylor, Texas Wildcatter has never won a stakes race. He is pretty classy, however. Last year, he finished second by a nose to Visionaire in the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct and he almost upset multiple graded stakes winner Spaghetti Mouse in the B.C. Cup Classic.

And All That Jazz carried his good speed the whole way to win the B.C. Cup Sprint last year. He figures to be sharp in his first start since finishing third in the six-furlong Express Handicap on Sept. 21.

Rallying Cry is looking to rebound from a dull effort in the George Royal Stakes on May 2. A stakes winner on Polytrack in England, Rallying Cry has never won on dirt. Nonetheless, he has been stakes placed three times, most recently in the $84,000 Troy, which was run over a muddy track at Saratoga last year.

Cherokee Tear rounds out the field.