09/24/2004 12:00AM

'Gotaghost' has faced tougher


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Gotaghostofachance heads an excellent field of 12 3-year-olds in the Grade 3, $250,000 British Columbia Derby at Hastings on Sunday. Gotaghostofachance is coming off an easy win in the Lamplighter Stakes at Monmouth on Aug. 28, and, with his tactical speed, he figures to get a perfect stalking trip behind Flamethrowintexan, the second-place finisher in the Emerald Downs Breeders' Cup Derby.

Of the 12 horses entered in the 1 1/8-mile BC Derby, eight are from other jurisdictions, and local hopefuls Future Flash, Cariboo Prospector, Lord Samarai, and Joyride appear to be up against it.

Gotaghostofachance will be making his first start since being purchased privately by Ross McLeod and Charles Ming. Trained by Steve Bryant, Gotaghostofachance will break from post 7.

Gotaghostofachance has been competitive with top company in the East. Before his win in the Lamplighter he finished third to War's Prospect in the Rumson Stakes at Monmouth. Gotaghostofachance also finished second to Pomeroy in the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Stakes on June 26. Pomeroy went on to finish second in the Grade 2 Amsterdam and then won the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga.

Gotaghostofachance appears to be coming up to the race in perfect condition. With Pedro Alvarado aboard, he breezed an easy five furlongs Monday, coming home the final furlong in 12 seconds.

Trainer David Cotey has entered Strike Em Hard, who has been racing exclusively at Woodbine. An Ontario-bred gelding, Strike Em Hard is coming off a third-place finish to older horses in a $62,000 optional race Aug. 28, when he was nosed out of second by Parose.

Don'tsellmeshort is the top money earner in the field, with more than $386,000, but after getting a rest following his third-place finish in the Grade 2 Laz Barrera Memorial at Hollywood Park on May 29, he has finished up the track in two starts.

Cariboo Prospector finished third in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby on Aug. 28, and he should appreciate what is likely to be a quick pace.