07/18/2007 12:00AM

Californiatruegrit back sprinting

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Californiatruegrit should have the edge over stakes winner Royal Sovereign in the seventh race at Hastings Friday, a $50,000 optional claiming race for 3-year-olds. The 6 1/2-furlong feature drew eight horses.

Californiatruegrit, who is trained by Terry Clyde and will be ridden by Richard Hamel, was a very impressive winner over older entry-level allowance sprinters in his first start this year. He certainly gave the impression that he could run with the best 3-year-olds at Hastings, at least sprinting. In two subsequent routes with the top 3-year-olds on the grounds, he came up a bit short.

Following his strong performance May 26, Californiatruegrit finished third behind Stephanson in an allowance race for 3-year-olds June 10. In his next start, the Chris Loseth Handicap won by Ookashada July 8, he broke a bit flat-footed and then rushed up to force the pace before fading to sixth.

Californiatruegrit has tactical speed, and if he breaks with the field he should get a good trip from just off of what figures to be a hotly contested pace.

Trainer Barb Heads has taken her time bringing Royal Sovereign back to the races following his smart win over the future stakes winner Sin Toro and Fortynine Express in the Ladnesian Stakes as a 2-year-old last July.

Royal Sovereign has been working well enough, but he'll need to be at his best to beat a very sharp Californiatruegrit.