Updated on 09/16/2011 8:18AM

Easier company for Kat

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The 2001 Jack Diamond Futurity winner Long Rifle makes his 3-year-old debut in the $35,000 City of Vancouver Stakes at Hastings Park Sunday but will face stern opposition in what appears to be a well-matched field. The 6 1/2-furlong feature drew seven horses including Cruising Kat, who won an entry-level allowance race at Golden Gate and finished fifth to Danthebluegrassman in the Golden Gate Derby.

The race is restricted to B.C.-breds, and Cruising Kat should find the field a lot easier to deal with than the ones he faced in his two stakes tries in northern California. "It was pretty tough down there," said his trainer and half-owner Daryl Snow. "Besides Danthebluegrassman he ran into Cappuchino, who just missed to Danthebluegrassman in the Golden Gate Derby."

Cappuchino came back to win the Golden Gate Mile by

2 1/4 lengths with Cruising Kat finishing seventh, 10 1/2 lengths back. Cruising Kat will add blinkers for Sunday's race. "He was trying to run over horses in his last two starts and I'm hoping they'll help settle him down. He seems pretty relaxed with them in the mornings and we'll find out if they make a difference in the afternoon."

Snow has named Frank Fuentes to ride.

Long Rifle won both of his starts last year for trainer Dave Forster. After off-season surgery for a small chip in his knee, he appears to be ready for a good effort. "He's training as well as ever," said assistant trainer Teri Forster.

Commodore Craig figures to be the one to catch, and Full Gainer.

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