07/15/2011 12:24PM

Hastings: St Liams Halo goes for five straight in Randall Plate


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – St Liams Halo will be a heavy favorite to win his fifth race in a row when he runs in the $50,000 S. W. Randall Plate at Hastings Sunday. The 1 1/16-mile feature for 3-year-olds and up drew five horses and goes as race 3 on the eight-race card which begins at 1:50 p.m. Pacific.

St Liams Halo, trained by Troy Taylor, is undefeated in three starts at Hastings and he should be the controlling speed in the Randall. He stalked Spaghetti Mouse through extremely slow fractions in his win over Crew Leader in the Lieutenant Governors’ July 1, and there just isn’t a confirmed front-runner in the field on Sunday. He was bought last year by Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella with an eye on the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby, but due to an injury he never made it to the race. He has been a bear as a 4-year-old, and though St Liams Halo’s combined margin of victory in his three starts here is just 2 3/4 lengths, each time jockey Mario Gutierrez appeared to have him well in hand.

Taylor said he is using the Randall as a prep for the Grade 3, $200,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs Aug. 21.

“He’s coming back pretty quickly for this race, but then it is about five weeks before he runs in the Mile, which is just perfect,” said Taylor.

Crew Leader and Senor Rojo look like the only serious threats.

Crew Leader won two straight allowance races before finishing second to St Liams Halo in the Lieutenant Governors’. He showed tactical speed when he earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure for his win over Prince Intent in a $50,000 optional sprint June 4 and he will need to be within close range early if he has any hope of beating St Liams Halo.

“We’re not going to give St Liams Halo the race,” said trainer Dino Condilenios, who added he expected jockey Chad Hoverson to have Crew Leader “involved right from the start.”

Senor Rojo, the 2010 local horse of the year, is versatile and can stalk the pace. He sat just off of Spaghetti Mouse when he won the 1 1/8-mile Sir Winston Churchill last year and he wasn’t too far off the pace when he beat Spaghetti Mouse in a $50,000 optional race June 11. He had a rough trip from along the rail in the Lieutenant Governors’, but he should have clear sailing leaving from the outside post Sunday.