05/16/2013 12:22PM

Hastings: Pace could set table for Crew Leader in Saturday sprint


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – It is tough to separate the eight older horses running in a $35,000 optional claimer that will serve as Saturday’s feature at Hastings. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint is the last of seven races carded, and an abundance of speed in the field could set things up nicely for Crew Leader.

Trained by Dino Condilenios, Crew Leader is a better horse going longer. He finished second in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby in 2010 and won the 1 1/16-mile S.W. Randall Plate in 2011. Last year, both of his wins came going around three turns in $40,000 optional claimers. Nonetheless, in 2011 he came out firing, winning back-to-back sprints in a first-level allowance race and a $50,000 optional claimer where he earned an 89 Beyer Speed Figure.

The flow of the race should work in Crew Leader’s favor, and he signaled his readiness with a bullet five-furlong move in 1:01 on May 3. It also is encouraging to see leading rider Aaron Gryder accept the mount.

Condilenios also entered Golden Triumph, who guarantees there will be a fast pace. He set quick fractions before being inhaled by Grade 3 Premiers winner Senor Rojo in a $40,000 optional claimer in his initial start this year April 13.

Trainer Peter Gregory is looking for a big effort from High End Man, who will be making his first start since he finished sixth in the Grade 3 B.C. Derby last September. He was an easy winner the only time he ran in a two-turn sprint, and he used his good tactical speed to win the $50,000 Richmond Derby Trial going 1 1/16 miles.

“I think he’s ready to go,” Gregory said. “I was considering the Longden for his first start, but this is a much easier spot and am glad the race filled.”

Gregory was referring to the John Longden 6000, which will be run Monday.

Wilo Kat could be ready for a peak effort in the third start of his current form cycle. Trained by John Snow, Wilo Kat is coming off a fifth in the $50,000 George Royal on April 28.

Marchoso used his good speed to win two of his six starts at Woodbine for trainer Terry Jordan last year. He will be making his first start on dirt for trainer Anita Bolton.

Dollarwaitnonadime, Unquiet, and Double Minor figure to make their presence known during the early stages of the race.