06/25/2004 12:00AM

Distance big factor for rating


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Daring Mood should be able to control things up front when he stretches out to 1 1/16 miles for the first time in Sunday's feature race at Hastings, a $35,000 claiming race for 3-year-olds. It's hard to say if he'll be able to carry his speed the whole way, though, and the race appears to be wide open to any of the seven horses entered.

Daring Mood has a 249 Tomlinson rating for the distance, which suggests that he could have a problem negotiating three turns.

California-bred Daring Mood is coming off of a convincing front-running win over $25,000 claimers on June 13, and was claimed out of the race by trainer Peter Stephen for Salmon River Ranch. Stephen has connected with 42 percent of his starters at the meet. If Daring Mood can get the distance, he'll likely be adding to those totals. Apprentice Jorge Espitia will not have any trouble making the assigned weight of 107 pounds.

The only horse in the field who has won going a route is Just for Deb. He finished fifth to Daring Mood in his latest race, but he was eliminated when he was squeezed out at the break. Trained by Jim Brown, he is easily the top money-earner in the race with over $65,000 in the bank, and with leading rider Pedro Alvarado taking over, he looks very live.

Agro is dropping in class after a troubled fourth-place finish to Future Flash in a 1 1/16-mile $50,000 optional race June 5. Future Flash will be one of the favorites in the $75,000 Burnaby Breeders' Cup this Thursday, and Agro figures to have a much better chance with this group.