05/23/2013 12:59PM

Hastings: Rockin Cherokee figures to get nice setup on Saturday


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Rockin Cherokee figures to feast on what will likely be a hotly contested pace in a $15,000 claiming race for 3-year-olds and up at Hastings Saturday. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint drew eight horses and goes as race 6 on the seven-race card, which begins at 1:50 p.m. Pacific.

Trained by Troy Taylor, Rockin Cherokee has finished in the top three in all six of his races at Hastings and will likely be favored Saturday. The only blemishes in his nine-race career came in two fifth-place finishes at Santa Anita following his win in a $20,000 maiden claiming race at Betfair Hollywood Park last Dec. 1.

Taylor gave Rockin Cherokee some time off after his dull effort in a $40,000 starter race Jan. 27, and in his first start back he was an impressive winner over Yes He’s Trouble in a $17,500 conditional claimer here April 20. He acquitted himself well when he tried a tough group of $25,000 open claimers May 5, finishing third.

Aaron Gryder rides Rockin Cherokee, and he figures to place the 4-year-old son of Rock Hard Ten in a stalking position before pouncing on what should be tiring speed.

Cabo Chico ran an odd race when he was sent off as the prohibitive favorite in a six-furlong race at this level in his first start at Hastings. The chalk players were counting their money when he easily opened up a three-length lead at the quarter pole. He seemed to lose focus on the stretch turn, however, and it looked like he might finish last when he started dropping back. Instead of finishing last, he regained his momentum and rallied to finish second behind Seminole Brave.

Trained by Anita Bolton, Cabo Chico drew the rail, and if his recent races are any indication he will be involved in the race right from the start.

The classy 9-year-old Seminole Brave came from a stalking position to edge Cabo Chico in his first start this year and then finished second after dueling for the lead in a similar race May 4. Leading apprentice jockey Marlo Dunn will likely try to avoid a duel and get him to settle early. A stakes winner, Seminole Brave has been trained by Mel Snow his entire career.

A Lasting Peace and McKinley Square add considerable speed to the fray.

A Lasting Peace is stepping up following back-to-back front-running wins in $10,000 claiming races.

McKinley Square forced the issue before fading in the same race Rockin Cherokee exits.