07/10/2008 11:00PM

Best Westerner looks too good


Best Westerner takes on five foes, including the three who finished directly behind him in the Harry Jeffrey Stakes on June 21, in the $50,000 Derby Trial going 1 1/16 miles at Assiniboia Downs on Sunday.

Best Westerner should be a much heavier favorite than he was in the Harry Jeffrey, when he went off at 7-5 and wired the field for a six-length score.

Best Westerner opened up five lengths after a half-mile of the one-mile Harry Jeffrey, got a breather from rider Alan Cuthbertson, and had only a length lead at the quarter pole before opening up again. That was Best Westerner’s first local start after having made his previous six starts at Tampa Bay Downs.

At Tampa, Best Westerner won a first-level allowance going six furlongs and a maiden race on the turf going a mile.

Mr Exspeedient, From the Hill, and Ruckus Rules were the second- through fourth-place finishers in the Harry Jeffrey, and while none was closing on Best Westerner at the wire, the extra yardage here may make a difference.

Both Mr Exspeedient and From the Hill are not really bred to go long, but Ruckus Rules is by Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos and out of an A.P. Indy mare, so the extra yardage should not be an issue.

Mr Exspeedient has finished ahead of From the Hill in each of their last three encounters. Both won a first-level allowance at Assiniboia Downs earlier this year.

Ruckus Rules makes his third start and should move up, but he still was beaten over 13 lengths in the Harry Jeffrey, so a marked improvement will be needed to turn the tables.

His stablemate Ascot Hall was fifth in the Golden Boy prior to passing through his first allowance condition last time out. Ascot Hall does have a late-running style, so he could run past them late.

Maiden winner Felted completes the field. He was fourth in his last start, three lengths behind Ascot Hall.