06/06/2012 11:19AM

Hastings: No clear favorite in Friday claiming sprint


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Take your pick among the seven horses entered in a $25,000 claiming race that will serve as Friday’s feature at Hastings. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up goes as the sixth race on the seven-race card and appears to be a wide-open event. Post time for the first race is 7:15 p.m. Pacific.

Heavenly Chorus is a strong possibility. Trained by Greg Tracy, Heavenly Chorus ran a huge race in his first start of the year, finishing third in the $50,000 George Royal going six furlongs April 15. He hadn’t raced since last August at Northlands Park, so it is possible he bounced when he came back in a $50,000 optional claimer May 13, finishing fifth after forcing the early pace. His Beyer Speed Figure also dropped dramatically from an 82 in the George Royal to a 65.

Inoel Beato rides Heavenly Chorus.

Bonboni, trained by Steve Henson, had an excuse when he finished a fast-closing third behind Prince Intent and Stormin Proud Papa in a similar race May 6 and could be dangerous with a clean trip. Bonboni was squeezed back at the start and then had to go wide when he made a late move that came up a length short.

Pop Artist finished a neck in front of Bonboni in a $25,000 claiming race April 14, but was disqualified and placed second. Trained by Dino Condilenios, Pop Artist came back in the same race as Bonboni and set the pace before tiring to finish fourth. He can stalk, and with the speedy Newfound Gold shipping in from Emerald Downs, it wouldn’t be surprising to see jockey Chad Hoverson take a bit of a hold of Pop Artist early.

Newfound Gold looks like the main speed, and he dueled the whole way before losing by a bob of the head in a four-horse photo in a $25,000 claiming race May 20. It was his first start of the year, and he won three races at Emerald for trainer Larry Ross in 2011.

Seminole Brave appears to be rounding into form for trainer Mel Snow and is certainly capable of winning if he’s on top of his game. After a couple of dull efforts to start his 2012 campaign, the 8-year-old Florida-bred chased an honest pace and held on well to finish third in a $25,000 claiming race won by Stormin Proud Papa on May 19.

Bearrock N Roll, second in the same race, could be ready for a big effort in the third start of his current form cycle.

Mr. Cooper, who wants more distance, is making his first start of the year.