10/29/2008 11:00PM

Marathon in Vintner's wheelhouse


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Vintner figures to be a solid favorite in the final leg of the marathon series at Hastings on Saturday.

The 1 3/4-mile starter handicap attracted seven horses and goes as the ninth race. This will be the final weekend of live racing at Hastings this year.

Trained by Barb Heads, Vintner has found his niche in marathons.

After winning an $8,000 nonwinners-of-three allowance race at 1o1/16 miles Aug. 22, Vintner was given a try in the third leg of the marathon series, at 1 7/16 miles on Sept. 14. And he met the challenge, going all out to defeat Lord Vic by a neck. Vintner then took a giant stride forward when he came back in the next leg of the marathon series at 1 1/2 miles on Oct. 13.

With Mario Gutierrez aboard, Vintner set the early pace, but was headed by Lord Vic with three furlongs to go. Vintner responded strongly, however, drawing off to win by 4 1/2 lengths over the late-closing Just Like Dreads.

Rain is forecast for the weekend, and wet conditions would favor Vintner, who has won three of his four starts over wet tracks.

Gutierrez retains the mount.