08/19/2013 1:03PM

Hastings: Step Up takes step down for Wednesday feature


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Step Up will appreciate the significantly easier company when he runs in a $17,500 claiming race for 3-year-olds and up that will serve as Wednesday’s feature at Hastings.

Due to the annual Pacific National Exhibition fair, which began last weekend and is held on the same grounds as Hastings, the live racing schedule will change for the next two weeks. There will be no racing this Saturday and Sunday. Instead, Hasting will follow up Wednesday’s card with racing this Friday and next Wednesday and Friday before closing the PNE fair on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2.

Post time for both Wednesdays and Labor Day will be 1:50 p.m., Fridays start at 7 p.m.

Considering Step Up was coming off a win in a $10,000 maiden-claiming race July 1, he ran huge in his fifth-place finish in the $50,000 B.C. Cup Stellar’s Jay. He ran well in both of his route attempts last year, including a second going 1 1/16 miles in the $50,000 Ascot Graduation, so it wasn’t a shock he ran a decent race going around three turns for the first time this year in the Stellar’s Jay. Nonetheless, he was taking a significant step up in class, and it was surprising to see him third heading into the stretch before tiring to finish fifth in the 11-horse field.

He is taking a significant drop into a conditional-claiming race for horses that haven’t won two races, and if he comes close to repeating his effort in the Stellar’s Jay he is going to be tough to beat. There also is the good chance he will move forward in his second straight route.

Scott Williams retains the mount.

Monahee is coming off a last-place finish at this level going 6 1/2 furlongs Aug. 10, but he really doesn’t want to sprint and had been off for almost two months following his win going 1 1/16 miles in a $30,000 maiden-claiming race June 14.

Trained by Tracy McCarthy, Monahee figures to improve with the added distance. With his good speed, he should be involved right from the start with Antonio Reyes aboard.

Whatasenseofhumor, trained by Pat Jarvis, is just a couple of necks short of winning all three of his races this year, and he just missed to Deputy’s Command in the same race Monahee exits. He went unplaced the only time he tried a middle distance, which came in his last start as a 3-year-old, but he is certainly bred for the distance. With his tactical speed, he should get a nice trip leaving from the inside post.