08/09/2007 11:00PM

Bettors can pick their poison


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Pace players will likely head toward Ghost Pirate in the seventh race at Hastings Sunday, a $25,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds that attracted seven horses. Handicappers who are drawn to lightly raced horses that showed a lot of improvement in their latest race will make a case for Year After Year. Either way, Ghost Pirate and Year After Year look like the horses to beat.

Trained by Terry Clyde, Ghost Pirate set fast fractions and then held on well to finish second behind Alert N Wise in a similar race July 22. He should be able to clear early, and if he builds off of his good effort, he could be tough to catch. He's also the only horse in the field with more than one win. Frank Fuentes will ride.

Year After Year, who is trained by William La Vanway, has started three times in his young career. He started only once last year, winning a 3 1/2-furlong $15,000 maiden race last September. He resurfaced in a $20,000 claiming race July 1, setting a moderate pace and then tiring to finish a well-beaten fourth. In his latest start, Year After Year sat just off the pace, took the lead at the top of the stretch, and then couldn't hold off a late bid by Azkaban, who returned to win again. Year After Year's 68 Beyer Speed Figure is easily the best last-race number in the field, and if he takes another step forward in his third start of the year, he could be very tough to beat. Chad Hoverson retains the mount.