07/25/2007 11:00PM

Big drop cause for uncertainty


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – It’s a bit surprising to see Belle of Rainier show up in the seventh race at Hastings Saturday, a 6 1/2-furlong $20,000 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies.

With a better trip, Belle of Rainier would have won her last start, a $35,000 claiming sprint June 16, and she would have been coming into Saturday’s race undefeated. Trained by Larry Grieve, Belle of Rainier won her debut in a $25,000 maiden claiming race May 5 and then came right back to beat Singing Along going 6 1/2 furlongs for $25,000 June 2. In her second-place finish behind Destiny’s Home June 16, Belle of Rainier had to wait for racing room around the stretch turn and made a strong move in the stretch.

The drop in price along with the time between starts raises some questions regarding how well she came out of her latest race. Nonetheless, she did have a sharp four-furlong work in 47.60 seconds July 8, and her trainer is winning races at a 26-percent clip at the meet. It’s also encouraging that leading rider Mario Gutierrez accepts the mount.

Sheisrough, who is trained by Ed Thompson, could be coming up to a big race. She led all the way to win a $15,000 maiden claiming race June 23 and then finished second to Post Rio in a $25,000 claiming race July 8. Both races were at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Singing Along got off to a slow start when she finished sixth behind Destiny’s Home and Belle of Rainier June 16. She could be dangerous with a better start.