05/02/2013 10:30AM

Hastings: Seminole Brave should like extra distance


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The classy 9-year-old Seminole Brave is obviously a step or two slower than when he won the $50,000 George Royal Stakes in 2009. Nonetheless, he was quick enough to win a $15,000 claiming race going six furlongs two weeks ago, and he should be tough to handle when he runs back for the same price at Hastings on Saturday.

A versatile Florida-bred, Seminole Brave will have to navigate an extra sixteenth of a mile in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint. It won’t be a problem, however − six of his eight career wins came at the distance.

Seminole Brave got a perfect trip in his win over heavily favored Cabo Chico on April 20. Apprentice Marlo Dunn had him in second behind Cabo Chico, who carved out honest fractions and looked like he was going to run off and hide. Cabo Chico seemed to lose focus on the stretch turn, however, and Seminole Brave blew by him like he was standing still. It appeared Seminole Brave was going to win easily, but Cabo Chico found his stride and rallied to finish second, beaten three-quarters of a length.

Seminole Brave easily has the best early speed in the field and could be gone if he breaks alertly from his inside post.

Also in the field Saturday is Stormin Proud Papa, who closed from a stalking position to finish a head behind Cabo Chico in the April 20 race. Stormin Proud Papa was part of a contingent trainer Mike Anderson raced at Turf Paradise. His best race was a second in a $20,000 optional claimer Nov. 5, and he is looking for his first win since he wired a $25,000 claiming race here last May, a race in which Seminole Brave finished third.

Lord Henry will appreciate the easier company following a troubled trip in a $25,000 claiming race April 13.

◗ Because of the buzz local rider Mario Gutierrez created last year by winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness aboard I’ll Have Another, management at Hastings is expecting a large crowd to show up Saturday. To help patrons get a good view of the Derby, a 40-foot high-definition screen has been installed in the infield. Post time for the first race at Hastings is 1:50 p.m. Pacific, and there will be a break of more than an hour between the third and fourth races to accommodate the Kentucky Derby.