09/15/2004 11:00PM

Machaera takes the route test

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Machaera looks like the one to beat in the feature race at Hastings Saturday, a $50,000 optional race for 3-year-olds that drew seven horses. The big question regarding Machaera is his ability to get the 1 1/16-mile distance.

A Kentucky-bred colt by French Deputy, Machaera is a half-brother to a couple of very nice sprinters. His half-brother Celt was one of the fastest horses at Hastings in 2003 and has been stakes placed twice. Ivy Lane won the Emerald Downs Handicap as a 3-year-old and was also stakes placed at 2. Neither horse won a race that was longer than 6 1/2 furlongs, but the way Machaera ran in the 1 1/16-mile Richmond Derby Trial certainly suggests he'll be tough to beat going around three turns Saturday.

In the Trial, Machaera broke in the air and was 17 lengths behind the leaders after they had gone six furlongs. With Chris Loseth aboard, Machaera started to pick it up from there and he made up over eight lengths to finish fourth. Loseth has retained the mount from trainer Mel Snow.

Won Handsome Devil appears to have been a good claim. Trainer Gary Demorest claimed the full brother to British Columbia Cup Debutante and Sales Stakes winner Backseat Becka for $25,000 Aug. 14. He came right back to win a maiden special weight race Aug. 29 and he catches a relatively weak group for his first try with winners.