10/02/2008 11:00PM

Hard to look past top pair

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity attracted nine 2-year-old Canadian-bred colts and geldings, but it really shapes up as a two-horse race.

El Sinaloense and Almost Time appear to be standouts in the 6 1/2-furlong feature, which goes as the ninth race at Hastings on Sunday.

El Sinaloense has certainly earned the role as the favorite. After all, he has won every juvenile stakes race for colts and geldings at Hastings this year. He was pretty much in hand for all four stakes wins as well.

Trained by Juan Olmos, El Sinaloense started his streak with a 5 1/4-length win over Almost Time in the Ladnesian Stakes on July 13, earning a 92 Beyer Speed Figure. That is the highest Beyer Figure ever posted by a 2-year-old at Hastings. In his latest win, in the CTHS Sales Stakes on Sept. 7, he received a 77 Beyer Figure. That was the third straight race that his figures have regressed, and it begs the question - is he over the top?

According to his jockey Pedro Alvarado, the answer is no.

"Juan sent him home for about 10 days after he won the Sales Stakes, and he seems to have come back a very fresh horse," said Alvarado.

Almost Time, trained by Dino Condilenios, is coming into the futurity off a 12 3/4-length win in a six-furlong maiden special on Sept. 7. He earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure for his dominating performance, and he appears to be peaking at exactly the right time.