06/26/2002 11:00PM

Burnaby is best local race this year

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The $75,000 Burnaby Breeders' Cup easily shapes up as the best race of the year at Hastings. One of the things that makes the Burnaby so interesting is that we may all find out how good Bold'n Keen is.

His trainer, Rob VanOverschot, thinks he is as good or better than Alberta Derby winner Lord Shogun, who he also trains.

"I didn't really want to run him in a stakes race right after breaking his maiden but there haven't been any allowance races, so here we are."

Bold'n Keen looked as green as the fairways at Augusta National when he made his debut May 18, but still managed to finish a close second to The Jones Boy. He put it all together in his second start, though. After forcing a fast pace, he drew off with authority in a quick 1:16.66 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

"He's learning," said VanOverschot. "And he's very ratable. We didn't want him to have the kind of trip he had in his first start so we had the rider ride him aggressively."

With plenty of front-runners in the Burnaby, VanOverschot wants Bold'n Keen to come from off the pace this time. "I like it that there's speed both inside and outside, so he should be able to settle in behind them," he said. "I'm pretty sure he'll handle the distance but until they actually do you never really know."

One of the horses who won't mind the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Burnaby is Horatio, who ships in from Emerald Downs. He came from 15 lengths behind to win the 1 1/16-mile Gottstein Futurity at Emerald Downs last September, and after one sprint this year, his trainer, David Forster, is eager to stretch him out.

"He'd actually prefer to go a mile and a half," said Forster. "He'll just be getting warmed up going a mile and a sixteenth."

Forster sent Horatio out for a half-mile breeze Thursday morning and was pleased with the way he handled the track.

"He's a big horse, so I wasn't sure how he would handle the [tighter] turns. But he has a beautiful way of going and he handled them just fine," he said.

Forster will also saddle Blowin in the Wind, who has been a beaten odds-on favorite in each of his last two starts. Both horses will use Lasix for the first time.

"Horatio trickled a little bit at Emerald and Blowin in the Wind actually bled quite a bit. Hopefully, we've corrected the problem," Forster said.

No Time Flat is the only double stakes winner in the race. One of his added-money wins came in the 1 1/16-mile Ascot Sophomore. He made a move in his only start this year, a fourth-place finish in the Klondike, and should be a factor with the added distance.

"He's not much of a work horse, but he went a real fast half the last time he worked [47.80 seconds on June 24], so I think he'll run a good race," said his trainer, Terry Marshall.

One horse who might get lost in the shuffle is Regal Rebel. He had a troubled trip in the Alberta Derby but still finished second.

"He ran a very good race," said his trainer, Rick Kamps, "but this is a lot tougher spot. I'm not that crazy about running him back in two weeks after a long trip, but he's bright and seems happy so we'll run."

Kamps nominated his 3-year-old filly Lady Vye to the Emerald Downs Stakes Sunday and 2000 Best B.C. Premiers winner American Justice to the Lieutenant Governors here this Monday.

"I'll probably pass with both of them," he said. " I don't want to sprint Lady Vye after going long with her, and American Justice is just not ready yet."

American Justice missed all of last year with a bowed tendon but according to Kamps has recovered nicely from surgery and should need only a couple of more works before he's ready to run.