08/23/2011 12:59PM

Hastings: Mass Flora should be alone out front


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Mass Flora looks like the one they will have to run down in a $12,000 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies that will serve as Thursday’s feature at Hastings. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint drew five horses and goes as the last race on the seven-race card that begins at 3:20 p.m. Pacific.

Trained by Robbie Anderson, Mass Flora forced quick fractions in her win over Nuj Nuj Wink Wink in a similar race Aug. 7, and there doesn’t appear to be another horse in the field that can keep up with her early. She is a very honest horse as well. Just once has she finished worse than third, and that came in her second career start when she tried stakes horses in the $50,000 B.C. Cup Debutante. She might not be able to run with top company, but she is tough at this level. In four starts for $12,500, she has two wins, a second, and a third. If she breaks alertly with apprentice rider Marlo Dunn riding, there is an excellent chance they won’t catch her.

Aquatic looks like the main threat. Trained by Dino Condilenios, Aquatic is taking a substantial drop after forcing the pace in the B.C. Cup Dogwood before tiring to finish fourth. It was her first try at a middle distance, and she shouldn’t mind the move back to a sprint. In her previous race, she finished second in a $25,000 claiming race July 15 and prior to that she was an easy winner for $7,500. Aquatic has tactical speed and should be able to keep Mass Flora in her sights right from the start.

Condilenios also will saddle Pigtails, who hasn’t lived up to the promise she showed when she won the $52,000 Fantasy Stakes going 1 1/16 miles last September. Her best finish in five starts this year was a third, when she made her seasonal debut in a $75,000 optional claimer April 17. She ran a dull race while finishing seventh in the Dogwood and will be running for a claiming price for the first time since she won a $30,000 maiden claiming race in her second start as a 2-year-old.

Nuj Nuj Wink Wink seems to have lost the early speed she used to win back-to-back races at Turf Paradise and Hastings last spring. In her last start for trainer Phil Hall, Nuj Nuj Wink Wink came from last to finish second behind Mass Flora.

Acceptable Henna rounds out the field.