08/31/2009 12:00AM

Class dropper tough to beat

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trick of the North looks pretty solid in the feature race at Hastings on Wednesday. The optional $50,000 claiming race for older horses drew a field of seven - all entered for a tag - and goes as the eighth race. Post time for the first race has been moved up to 6:45 p.m.

Trained by Barbara Heads, Trick of the North is coming off a third-place finish behind Krazy Koffee in the $110,000 B.C. Cup Classic on Aug. 3. Till the Storm, who finished second in the Classic, came back to beat a solid field of $25,000 optional sprinters last Friday. Krazy Koffee was the horse of the year in British Columbia last year and will be one of the favorites in the $55,000 S.W. Randall Plate on Monday.

Obviously, this is a much easier spot, and Trick of the North is a tough horse to beat when he's facing high-priced claimers. Heading into the Classic, Trick of the North had won his two previous starts and finished either first or second in five races in a row. His latest win came at this level and distance.

Ookashada also comes out of the Classic. Trained by Toni Cloutier, Ookashada finished fourth in the Classic. In his previous race, he made up a lot of ground to finish third behind Trick of the North on July 4. A multiple stakes winner with career earnings of $362,490, Ookashada is looking for his first win this year.

Cloutier has also entered Kwik, who is also winless at the meet. Last year he won three races, including the $50,000 B.C. Derby Consolation. He has had two sharp half-mile works since he finished fifth to Gather de Justice in a $35,000 claiming race on Aug. 9, and it was about this time last year when he improved dramatically.

Trained by Patty Leaney, Soldiers Return could be the lone speed, but so far in his career he hasn't been able to win a race longer than 6 1/2 furlongs. His best result going around three turns was a fourth-place finish in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race last November.

Lightly raced Bear Empire just missed in a first-level allowance on July 19 and could be coming up to a big race for trainer Dale Greenwood.