06/01/2012 12:45PM

Hastings: Stablemates Taylor Said and St Liams Halo clash in Sir Winston Churchill


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – It is tough to look past Taylor Said and St Liams Halo in the $50,000 Sir Winston Churchill at Hastings Sunday. The 1 1/16-mile feature for 3-year-olds and up drew eight horses and goes race 7 on an eight-race card that starts at 1:50 p.m. Pacific.

Both horses are owned by Glen Todd and trained by Troy Taylor but will run uncoupled in the wagering.

Todd likes St Liams Halo because he is a proven route horse. Taylor isn’t as sure, and neither was Fernando Perez when he had his choice of mounts and opted to ride Taylor Said.

Taylor Said couldn’t have been more impressive winning the 6 1/2-furlong John Longden 6000 by 4 1/2 lengths on May 6. The 101 Beyer Speed Figure he was awarded is the first figure to go over the century mark at Hastings since 1999. Figures aside, what really encouraged Taylor and Perez is the way he stalked the pace and finished full of run.

“I didn’t think he would ever be able to go long until his last race,” said Taylor. “I never thought Taylors Deal would go long, either, but he proved me wrong when he won the Turf Paradise Derby.”

Taylors Deal is a half-brother to Taylor Said.

St Liams Halo could end up being favored. He won his first two races, both sprints, at Hastings last year, including the $50,000 Longden, before beating Crew Leader by a length in the 1 1/16-mile Lieutenant Governors. In his next start he lost by a nose to Crew Leader in the S.W. Randall Plate and then was entered in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs but was scratched.

“I’m not sure how it happened but he hurt his foot,” said Taylor. “He might have stepped on something.”

St Liams Halo didn’t run again until he finished fourth in a restricted stakes on turf at Hollywood Park Nov. 18. He is coming off a second-place finish behind Taylor Said in the Londgen and he figures to relish the added distance.

“They are both doing very well right now and I have a hard time choosing between them,” Taylor said.

It will be interesting to see how the race unfolds because Taylor Said and St Liams Halo have the best speed in the field.

Senor Rojo and Majesticality will need an honest pace to run at.

Northern Causeway has tactical speed and should get a ground-saving trip leaving from the rail.

Crew Leader has been very dull in his first two races this year, both sprints, but worked a sharp five-furlongs May 24 and will appreciate the added distance.