08/16/2007 12:00AM

Good luck beating T. J. Hennessy


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - T. J. Hennessy looks like an absolute standout in the 6 1/2-furlong featured race at Hastings Saturday. The $20,000 claiming race for 3-year-olds and up that have not won three races drew seven horses, all 4-year-olds, and goes as the seventh race.

Trained by Tracy McCarthy, T. J. Hennessy is coming off of a very good effort behind Commodore Craig in a $25,000 claiming race July 8. T. J. Hennessy is dropping only $5,000 in value, but he'll be facing conditioned claiming horses for the first time, and in this case the class difference is dramatic.

It was a bit surprising to see that T. J. Hennessy was favored over the first three finishers in his last start. Commodore Craig is a stakes winner with over $309,000 in earnings and he's been a sharp horse this year, winning two races and hitting the board in 5 of his 6 starts. Nineleventurbo also has plenty of back class and has earned $222,574. Tango Mango had won 5 of his last 7 starts and was coming off of a sharp win over T. J. Hennessy.

Compare those horses to the ones T. J. Hennessy will be facing here, and it doesn't figure to be much of a contest. Dave Wilson will ride T. J. Hennessey.

Meritocratic, who is trained by Brent Bremner, looked sharp winning an entry-level allowance race July 22, posting a 68 Beyer Speed Figure, 12 points lower than T. J. Hennessey received for his last start.

Sly Striker could improve in his second start at the meet and he'll also appreciate the drop in class after facing a tough group of $35,000 optional horses July 20.