04/19/2013 4:00PM

Hastings: Taylor strong in Brighouse Belles, George Royal

Four-Footed Fotos
Evelyn's Dancer will make her 4-year-old debut next Saturday in the Brighouse Belles.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Troy Taylor set a record by winning 18 stakes at Hastings last year, and he is going to have strong chances in both the $50,000 Brighouse Belles for fillies and mares next Saturday and the $50,000 George Royal for 3-year-olds and up next Sunday. Both races are at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Taylor said Evelyn’s Dancer has been training well, and she figures to be tough to beat when she makes her 4-year-old debut in the Brighouse Belles. Last year, she dominated the local 3-year-old filly division and ran a huge race when she ran against older fillies and mares in the Grade 3 Ballerina, finishing second to Class Included.

Evelyn’s Dancer was a bit headstrong in some of her races, but she was so much the best her unwillingness to rate didn’t hurt her. Taylor thinks she has matured a bit and might be easier to ride this year.

“I like how she’s been going,” Taylor said. “We have been galloping her without blinkers, and she seems very relaxed out there.”

According to Taylor, Evelyn’s Dancer will keep the blinkers on when she runs.

Take your pick between two from the Taylor barn in the George Royal: Commander and Devil in Disguise.

The barn likes Devil in Disguise, but Commander looks like the better horse on paper.

A 5-year-old, Commander won all of his races in Western Canada, including the Grade 3 Premiers, before faltering after forcing a quick pace in the Grade 2, 1 3/4-mile Breeders’ Cup Marathon.

Devil in Disguise will be facing older horses for the first time, and he equaled his career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 81 when he finished second in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby in his last start.

Compare that to the 100 Beyer that Commander earned for his 6 3/4-length romp over Crew Leader in the S.W. Randall Plate last Sept. 9.