06/14/2012 1:04PM

Hastings: Vinoterra figures to 'em her heels in Saturday allowance.


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Vinoterra will be hard to catch if she breaks alertly from her inside post in a first-level allowance race for 3-year-old fillies that will serve as Saturday’s feature at Hastings. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint drew eight horses, but if Vinoterra runs back to her impressive fourth-place performance in the $50,000 Ross McLeod, they aren’t going to beat her.

Trained by Barbara Heads, Vinoterra had just one race before she ran in the Ross McLeod, and she showed a lot of potential when she ran away and hid in a $20,000 maiden-claiming race at Golden Gate April 6. She surprised a lot of people with her performance in the Ross McLeod. With Chad Hoverson aboard for the first time, Vinoterra hooked up with Claresmiezie early and the two of them dueled through blistering fractions of 21.68 and 44.48 in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint. Claresmiezie, undefeated in Western Canada until then, lost the duel and finished fifth, a half-length behind Vinoterra.

The race could have taken a lot out of Vinoterrra but Heads said she bounced back quickly and she is expecting a strong performance Saturday. Vinoterra signaled her readiness with a sharp half-mile move in 48.40 seconds over a sloppy track June 3.

“Surprisingly, she came out of the race in great shape,” said Heads. “I really didn’t want to run her in the McLeod but was kind of forced to when nothing would fill. This is the race we were looking for her all along.”

Heads wasn’t thrilled about Vinoterra breaking from the rail.

“She doesn’t leave the gate that quickly, so hopefully it won’t be a problem,” she said. “She has a big, long stride and it doesn’t take her long to get into full gear, though.”

There is other speed in the field but none is nearly as quick as Vinoterra, and the ones that try to run with her early could be struggling late.

Marcado could take advantage of the shape of the race. Trained by Kelly Rycroft, Marcado is stepping up in class but she has the second-best Beyer Speed Figure in the field behind Vinoterra, and she can finish. She rallied to win a $17,500 conditional claiming race for fillies and mares June 3 in her second start this year and could be coming up to a big race. She won a $10,000 maiden-claiming race going 3 1/2 furlongs last year.

Lady Bourne could be the sleeper. Trained by Pete Gregory, Lady Bourne won her only start last year by a wide margin and she had a rough trip in a first-level allowance race when she made her 3-year-old debut May 27.