07/23/2009 12:00AM

Closers to have their day at Hastings


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Rule No. 1 for a lot of handicappers is that pace makes the race. That was certainly the case when Tamarinda and Smokin Danielle won their last start. Tamarinda was under no pressure when she cruised to a two-length win over Random Highs in a $25,000 optional sprint on July 11. Smokin Danielle had things her own way when she easily handled Big Bertha in a $12,500 claiming race on July 10.

With both of them in the field, plus Dream Sweeper, another speed horse shipping in from Emerald Downs, the feature race at Hastings on Saturday should set up for a closer. Montero and Random Highs look like the ones that should benefit the most from what figures to be a hotly contested pace.

The first-level allowance race with a $25,000 claiming option for fillies and mares drew 11 horses and goes as the seventh race.

Montero, trained by Barb Heads, will not only benefit from the shape of the race, but she is going to appreciate the much easier company. Montero won at this level on May 9 and she also finished second to Restless Lady in a similar race on May 24. Restless Lady went on to win her next two starts. Montero jumped up to face stakes horses in the 1 1/16-mile Vancouver Sun on July 1 and she ran a respectable race, finishing fifth. In her most recent start she couldn't keep up in a quickly run $65,000 optional race won by Wind Storm on July 11.

She gets in at 112 pounds with apprentice jockey Geovanni Franco accepting the mount.

Random Highs is a very sharp horse right now, and if she can avoid a wide trip from post 11, she could easily get up in time. Trained by Sylvea Gregory, Random Highs came from well back to easily handle Smokin Danielle in a similar race on June 13. She also made a strong late run but couldn't catch Tamarinda in a $25,000 optional race at 6 1/2 furlongs on July 11. Dave Wilson retains the mount.

Dream Sweeper and Lasting Spice are the only 3-year-olds in the field and each is coming off of a front-running neck win in a maiden race on July 5. Dream Sweeper won a six-furlong $30,000 optional maiden race at Emerald Downs. Lasting Spice held on to beat Caraway in a 6 1/2 furlong maiden special weight race here.