07/17/2011 6:13PM

Hastings: Crew Leader noses out St. Liam's Halo in S.W. Randall Plate


VANCOUVER, British Columbia  - Crew Leader, with the help of a cagey ride by Chad Hoverson, edged heavily favored St Liam’s Halo by a nose in the $50,000 S.W. Randall Plate for 3-year-olds and up Sunday at Hastings.

There were five horses in the field but the 1 1/16-mile feature turned into a match race between the winner and St Liam’s Halo. St Liam’s Halo broke sharply and set moderate fractions of 24.45 and 48.44 seconds for the first half-mile and Hoverson had Crew Leader sitting just off his flank while saving ground along the rail. Hoverson moved Crew Leader up to force the issue at the three-eighths pole and there was nothing between the two horses the rest of the way with Crew Leader ($6.50) winning by the smallest of margins.

Senor Rojo stalked the slow pace and couldn’t make up any ground when the top pair finished full of run to post a very quick final time of 1:43.00 over a track rated good.

“I wasn’t going to let him get away on his own but I didn’t want to kill my horse either,” said Hoverson. “I’m not sure if that is his preferred style of running but you have to ride the race as it comes up.”

Trainer Dino Condilenios said Crew Leader would be pointed to the Grade 3, $200,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug.  21.