07/03/2007 11:00PM

Cal-bred French Roast feels right at home

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Friday racing returns to Hastings with a slightly different flavor. Traditionally, Friday racing has been conducted in the evening. This year, post time for the seven Friday cards will be 2:25 p.m.

The main reason for the move to daytime racing is that California bettors are allowed to wager into the Hastings pools during the day but not at night. California usually wagers between $175,000 and $200,000 on a Hastings program.

A horse Californians are familiar with, French Roast, will be very tough to beat in the seventh race, a 1 1/16-mile $35,000 optional claiming race that drew seven horses.

A 6-year-old California-bred, French Roast won five races in his home state before being claimed by his current owners, Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella, for $32,000 at Bay Meadows in January 2006. After three dull races at Golden Gate, he was shipped to Hastings where he's won 3 of 6 starts, all for trainer Troy Taylor.

French Roast is a very sharp horse right now, having won both of his races this year. He won a $25,000 claiming sprint June 3 and he's coming off of a convincing win in a $35,000 optional claiming race at 1 1/16 miles June 17. He drew the rail for Friday and it's very likely that jockey Mario Gutierrez will put him right on the lead.

Answer the Call finished third behind French Roast June 17. It was the first time Answer the Call has gone around three turns and he's certainly eligible to improve here.

Golden Pursuit has hit the board in 25 of his 36 starts and could rebound off of a rare dull effort against French Roast June 17.