05/23/2002 11:00PM

Full Gainer looks tough on drop

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Full Gainer, who won the New Westminster Stakes last year, should be a solid favorite over five other 3-year-olds in a $35,000 claiming sprint at Hastings Park Sunday.

Full Gainer ran three times as a 2-year-old and was heavily favored each time. He beat straight maidens as the 3-2 choice in his debut July 28 and was even money when he won the New Westminster Stakes on Aug. 19. His next start was in the $95,000 Ascot Sophomore Oct. 14 at 1 1/16 miles and he went off at 8-5. He finished eighth.

There were signs from his workouts that he hadn't progressed as a 3-year-old, so when he resurfaced in the City of Vancouver Stakes May 5, he was let go at odds of more than 8-1. Full Gainer finished fifth, and his trainer Terry Jordan didn't waste any time finding an easier spot on Sunday.

Full Gainer should be pretty tough to handle facing mostly horses who are eligible for a nonwinners of two. Pedro Alvarado rides.

With three wins, Count Katahaula is the only other horse in the race with more than a single win. He made a big move to beat $50,000 optional horses in his initial outing this year, but came back with a dull effort for the same condition May 12.

He will need some help up front to set up his late move, though, and it's not clear how fast they will be going early.

Crimson Mint has excellent speed but was rated in his latest outing. He breaks from post 2 and it wouldn't be surprising to see apprentice Nicola Wright hustle him out of there.

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