08/05/2011 2:39PM

Hastings: Slight edge to versatile Pop Artist


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Pop Artist and Foxcreek look like the main players in a $25,000 claiming race for 3-year-olds and up that headlines an eight-race card at Hastings on Sunday. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint drew six horses and goes as the seventh race.

Pop Artist figures to be a slight favorite over Foxcreek. Trained by Dino Condilenios, Pop Artist won three straight races at this level before he jumped up to face a tough group of $35,000 optional horses July 2. The winner, Cherokee Notion came back to finish second in the B.C. Cup Sprint last Monday.

Pop Artist is versatile and his jockey Richard Hamel will have more than one option. In his win over Slew’s Boy on May 29, Hamel put Pop Artist on the lead. When he beat Raising Memo going six furlongs in his seasonal debut April 16, he came from a stalking position. He dueled with Slew’s Boy for the first quarter-mile before drawing off to post a 2 1/2-length win over Arkhill May 1.

Foxcreek is lightly raced with just five starts in his career and he has never finished worse than second in four sprints. The only time he finished off the board was in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby last year. He won his first two starts for trainer Craig MacPherson last year before his failed try in the B.C. Derby. In two starts going 6 1/2 furlongs this year he came from off the pace to finish second behind Seminole Brave in a $35,000 optional race June  4 and he forced the pace before succumbing late to Bonboni in a $17,500 claiming sprint July 3. Bonboni won a $35,000 optional claiming race with an 87 Beyer Speed Figure in his next start July 24.

Dave Wilson rides Foxcreek.

Slew’s Boy, He Flies a Banner and Briartic County all like to be involved early.

Finally Kruisin probably wants more distance but with all the speed in the field he could get up in time to be part of the exotics. Trained by Troy Taylor, Finally Kruisin will be making his first start since he finished fifth going a mile and an eighth in an $8,000 claiming race at Tampa Bay last Dec. 31. He was claimed out of the race by owner-trainer Kathleen Guciardo and subsequently sold to Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella. All five of Finally Kruisin’s wins were at Hastings and they all came going around three turns.