10/12/2006 11:00PM

B.C. Premiers boils down to 2-horse race

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - There are seven horses entered in the Grade 3, $125,000 added B.C. Premiers at Hastings on Sunday, but the race really shapes up as a heavyweight match between True Metropolitan and Spaghetti Mouse.

With four dominating stakes wins in Alberta, True Metropolitan has wrapped up provincial honors. With a win over Spaghetti Mouse in the 1o3/8-mile Premiers, True Metropolitan would end up as the top handicap horse in British Columbia as well.

True Metropolitan and Spaghetti Mouse have faced each other twice this year. Spaghetti Mouse easily defeated True Metropolitan in the B.C. Cup Classic on Aug. 7. True Metropolitan came back to beat Spaghetti Mouse in the Sir Winston Churchill on Sept. 24. In the Churchill, True Metropolitan received three pounds from Spaghetti Mouse, but they'll each carry high weight of 123 pounds in the Premiers.

True Metropolitan, trained by Terry Jordan, will likely be a slight favorite because in his lone start at 1 3/8 miles he was a galloping 5 1/2-length winner, in the Speed to Spare at Northlands on Sept. 9. Also, he never has lost with Quincy Welch aboard, and Welch will ride him on Sunday.

Trained by Gary Demorest, Spaghetti Mouse had won the last three stakes at Hastings before finishing second to True Metropolitan in the Churchill. This will be the first time the 4-year-old son of Archers Bay has gone this far.

"We know the other horse can go this far and, of course, you really never know if they can go this far until they try it," said Demorest. We've put a lot of miles into him, and we'll just have to see what happens when the race is run."

In the Churchill, the two horses went head and head for the entire 1 1/8 miles, with True Metropolitan pulling away in deep stretch to win by a length. Demorest wasn't sure if Spaghetti Mouse would try running the same kind of race in the Premiers.

"I'm just hoping for a good trip and that he doesn't go to the front in 46 [seconds] and change," he said. David Wilson will ride.

Luhuk's Dancer is the lone 3-year-old in the race, and it appears he has the only realistic chance of pulling off an upset.

Trained by Toni Cloutier, Luhuk's Dancer won the Transac Derby Consolation on Sept. 24 and should thrive going 1 3/8 miles, the trainer believes.

"I really think the farther he goes the better he'll be," she said.

Cloutier won the Premiers with Shacane in 2002.