08/23/2006 12:00AM

Fast foes try to get 'Funky'


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Funky Friends hasn't panned out for Swift Thoroughbreds, which claimed him for $80,000 at Hollywood Park last December. But he looks like the one to beat in a $35,000 optional claiming sprint that goes as the seventh race at Hastings Friday. Also in the field is last year's local 2-year-old champ, Regal Request.

Funky Friends, who is trained by Dino Condilenios, has started only twice since he was claimed. In his first start, Funky Friends showed his usual good speed before he tired to finish fifth in the 6 1/2-furlong Import Stakes here June 10. He came back with a very good effort to place third in a $62,500 optional sprint July 8, and it looks like he might fit in with the leading 3-year-olds here.

Funky Friends has good speed, but with a very quick Northern Skipper in the field, he should be under pressure right from the start. Nonetheless, he should be able to handle what will likely be fast fractions. Pedro Alvarado rides.

Regal Request is looking for his first win since he beat Mighty Cahill in the $120,000 Ascot Graduation last October. Trained by Allan Jack, Regal Request forced the issue early before fading in the 1 1/16-mile B.C. Cup Stellar's Jay Aug. 7. He should appreciate the move to back to a sprint and also a little class relief.

The race could set up nicely for Earl's Diamond. Prior to finishing sixth in the Stellar's Jay, Earl's Dimond closed strongly to miss by a head to Northern Skipper in a $35,000 optional sprint July 22.