07/27/2012 1:20PM

Hastings: Crew Leader looking to turn corner in Sunday allowance

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Crew Leader (inside) hasn't won since the S.W. Randall Plate last July.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Crew Leader rallied to finish third in a $40,000 optional claiming race July 14, signaling that he could be ready to return to the form that saw him win three races last year, including the $50,000 S.W. Randall Plate. Trainer Dino Condilenios is hoping Crew Leader will continue his progress Sunday at Hastings when he runs in an allowance race for 3-year-olds and up which haven’t won $30,000 in 2012. There is also a $40,000 claiming option for the 1 1/16-mile race.

Crew Leader, who drew the rail in the six-horse field, was expected to be among the leaders of the older handicap division at Hastings this year, but he was a very dull horse at the beginning of the meet. He showed no interest when he made his seasonal debut in the $50,000 George Royal and was a no-show again in the John Longden 6000.

Both races were sprints and his connections were hoping he would turn things around when he stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in the $50,000 Sir Winston Churchill June 3. Once again he didn’t fire, however, finishing a distant fifth.

“We couldn’t find anything wrong with him,” said Condilenios. “He was pretty sour and just wasn’t a happy horse.”

Condilenios was pleased with the way Crew Leader finished full of run in his latest race, a sprint, and is looking for a good effort Sunday.

“I like the way he closed over a track that was favoring speed,” said Condilenios. “If he runs well here we’ll give him another shot with the big boys.”

Chad Hoverson retains the mount.

Three Wood didn’t know he was over 47-1 when he finished second to Taylor Said in the $50,000 Lieutenant Governors’ July 2 and he will obviously be a much shorter price here. Trained by Patty Leaney, Three Wood was coming off a fifth-place finish in the Sir Winston Churchill and in both races he equaled his career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 88.

An honest pace should be provided by Stormy Canuck, who is stretching out after chasing extremely fast fractions in the same sprint Crew Leader exits. Trained by Mark Cloutier, Stormy Canuck faded when he ran in a 1 1/16-mile $35,000 optional race June 9, but he has won at the distance and could be dangerous if he is able to sneak away on his own.

Fransor’s Finest and Ganbei will be within close range early. Brass Plate may be heard from late.