06/09/2006 12:00AM

Excellent allowance matchup


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - There are no stakes at Hastings on Sunday, but the featured race, a 1 1/16-mile allowance that drew nine older horses, attracted an excellent field that includes five graded-stakes winners. The possible favorite, Bull Ranch, isn't a graded-stakes winner, but he did win the 2005 Premiers, which has been reinstated as a Grade 3 this year.

Spaghetti Mouse might be ready for a breakout race, and if he comes close to the powerful display he showed winning the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby last year, he will be tough to beat. Trained by Gary Demorest, Spaghetti Mouse is coming off a troubled third-place finish behind Quiet Cash in the John Longden 6000 on May 23. Not only did he get stuck behind a moderate pace in the Longden, he also got bounced around through the stretch the first time. The pace could be a lot quicker Sunday, and the race could set up nicely for Spaghetti Mouse.

Bull Ranch, who is trained by Toni Cloutier, will likely be involved early, and the classy 4-year-old should be around at the finish. In five starts at Hastings, Bull Ranch has won twice and finished second three times. He finished a neck behind Quiet Cash in the Longden.

It's possible that off tracks have had something to do with the two dull efforts turned in by Lord Nelson this year. He has enough speed to take advantage of his inside post and could be dangerous if it stays dry.