06/29/2011 12:32PM

Hastings: St Liams Halo faces tough rivals in Lieutenant Governors'

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – St Liams Halo will likely be favored but he is certainly no cinch in the $50,000 Lieutenant Governors’ at Hastings on Friday.

The 1 1/16-mile feature drew a solid field of nine older horses, and contention appears to run deep. The Lieutenant Governors’ shares the spotlight with the $50,000 Chris Loseth that drew 10 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles. First post for the nine-race Canada Day card is 1:50 p.m. Pacific, with the Governors’ and Loseth slotted as the eighth and ninth race.

St Liams Halo has been impressive in both of his wins sprinting at Hastings this year and he will be trying three turns for the first time Friday. He used his good speed to defeat Almost Time in the $50,000 John Longden on May 23, and his trainer, Troy Taylor, is confident St Liams Halo will be able to handle the added yardage. St Liams Halo has an excellent Tomlinson Figure for the distance, 419, and in his final start in 2010 last June he won a one-mile maiden special weight race on turf at Arlington Park.

“He’s a route horse,” said Taylor. “We’ve been dying to run him long.

Crew Leader, trained by Dino Condilenios, has also won both of his sprints this year and the Beyer Speed Figure of 95 he earned for his win over Prince Intent in a 6 1/2-furlong $50,000 optional race June 4 is the best at the meet. He came from out of the clouds to finish second in the B.C. Derby last year and will be stretching out to a middle distance for the first time as a 4-year-old. Condilenios has also entered Almost Time, and he wasn’t sure which horse he liked more.

“Crew Leader is doing very well right now, and hopefully he won’t have to come from too far back,” said Condilenios. “Everybody thinks Almost Time is just a sprinter but he can go long and if he didn’t get too far out of it in the Longacres Mile last year he would have been right there.”

Almost Time has a win and a second in two starts at 1 1/16 miles, and his 95 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the John Longden last year is the best in the field at the distance.

Senor Rojo, the 2010 local Horse of the Year, is coming off of a sharp win over Spaghetti Mouse in a $50,000 optional race June 11.

Spaghetti Mouse adds luster to an already compelling race.