10/29/2009 12:00AM

Itlee moves back to sprint


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - An honest pace should help set up either Gatwick or Itlee in Saturday's feature race at Hastings, a $25,000 claiming race for 3-year-olds going 6 1/2 furlongs. The race, which goes as the eighth, drew nine horses.

Itlee, trained by Juan Olmos, got the best of Gatwick when they met in a similar race Oct. 3. Coming from well off the pace with apprentice Geovanni Franco aboard, Itlee got up in the last few strides to edge Gatwick by three-quarters of a length for his first win. Itlee was making his first start since he finished third in a $32,000 maiden race at Hollywood Park on May 31.

Leading rider Fernando Perez picked up the mount when Olmos moved Itlee up to face allowance horses going 1 1/16 miles Oct. 18. He ran an even race, finishing fourth. A Kentucky-bred colt by Pleasantly Perfect, Itlee should appreciate the move back to a sprint, and he certainly won't mind what figures to be a lively pace.

Perez retains the mount.

Although Itlee won their last encounter, Gatwick could have the edge with his tactical speed and figures to get a nice trip from a stalking position. Trained by Dino Condilenios, Gatwick has never finished worse than third in six starts going 6 1/2 furlongs. Gatwick has tried a middle distance twice, but both times he finished out of the money.

Now Act will be making his first start since being claimed for $5,000 by trainer William La Vanway on Sept. 20. It was a bit surprising to see Now Act, an $800,000 yearling by Vindication, surface in a bottom-level maiden race here following a third-place finish in a maiden special weight race at Aqueduct on March 14.

Making his first start for Condilenios, Now Act cruised to a 4 1/2-length win as the odds-on favorite. He has had three solid five-furlong works since being claimed by La Vanway and just might be good enough to stand the substantial hike in class.

Trained by Cindy Krasner, P. S. Bravo appears to have the best speed and could be dangerous if he clears early. In his most recent start, he forced a quick pace before fading to finish fifth in the race Itlee won Oct. 3. P. S. Bravo is coupled with the only filly in the field, P. S. Touchdown.