06/28/2005 11:00PM

Lieutenant Governors' up for grabs

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - With the late defection of local champion Lord Nelson, the Grade 3 $125,000 Lieutenant Governors' on Friday at Hastings appears to be a wide-open affair. A case can be made for 8 of the 10 starters in the 1 1/8-mile race.

It's difficult to predict who will be the favorite, but Blowin in the Wind will certainly have heavy betting support. After all, Blowin in the Wind, a 6-year-old Kentucky-bred, has won three straight stakes races, including the Grade 3 Premiers in his final start of 2004.

Blowin in the Wind, trained by David Forster, started his 2005 campaign with an upset win against Lord Nelson in the 6 1/2-furlong George Royal Stakes on April 16, and then was shipped to Alberta where he won the 1 1/16-mile Teeworth Plate at Stampede Park May 21. He will be ridden by Robert Skelly.

Snorter, trained by Arnie Turner, is the mystery horse in the field. Snorter won the Grade 3 Berkeley Breeders' Cup at Golden Gate last year and has earned more than $227,000. But he hasn't started since finishing a troubled seventh in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap May 30, and has had only one work since, a very slow five furlongs in 1:07 at Hastings on June 7.

Quiet Cash was impressive in his two sprint wins against much weaker company at Hastings this year. He beat Neverbroke by 6 1/4 lengths in a $35,000 optional race April 30 and then Celt by the same margin in a $50,000 optional race May 29. Although Quiet Cash is taking a big step up, he has some back class. A Kentucky-bred 4-year-old colt, Quiet Cash finished fourth behind Lion Heart in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity in 2003.

Other strong contenders include the Rob VanOverschot-trained pair of Lord Samarai and Illusive Force.

Trainer Dino Condilenios will run Five Point Star in the absence of Lord Nelson. Five Point Star is coming off of a win against Lord Samarai in the Herald Gold Plate at Stampede Park June 12.

If front-runner Roscoe Pito gets away on his own, he could be extremely dangerous. If not, the race could set up for R. Associate, who narrowly lost to Lord Nelson in the John Longden, then ran a troubled third in the Budweiser Emerald Downs Handicap June 19.

First post for the Canada Day card Friday is 1:25 p.m.