Updated on 09/15/2011 1:07PM

J V Bennett looks best


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - A wide-open claiming race for older horses entered for a top claiming price of $15,000 headlines a nine-race card at Hastings Park on Sunday.

The 6 1/2-furlong race drew eight horses, including the classy 8-year-old gelding J V Bennett, who figures to be one of the favorites off of his smart win going 1 1/16 miles Sept. 16.

J V Bennett is easily the most accomplished horse in the race, with more than $250,000 in earnings, and he is as adept at sprinting as he is at a running middle distance. He is shortening up after three straight route races: a second to Sir Winston Churchill winner Colonial Secretary in an optional race Aug. 5, a fourth as the 1-2 favorite for $11,000 Aug. 19, and his sharp win in his latest.

J V Bennett has won both of his races this year under the silks of owner Gary McNeil, who lost him for $15,000 on June 20. McNeil claimed him back for $11,000 Aug. 19. Trainer Peter Stephens has named Frank Fuentes to ride.

J V Bennett has won 20 races in his career and frequently has led from gate to wire. But he is capable of coming from slightly off the pace though, and with the speedy Conversano in the race, it is likely he will secure a stalking position early.

Conversano goes after his fourth straight win, and all five of his career wins have come gate-to-wire. He's facing a tough challenge, however, as he will have to deal with not only J V Bennett, but also a very quick Mr. Superior Knight, who drew inside of him.

With the abundance of speed in the race, it could set up for closers such as Free and Bold and Shingen Storm.