08/01/2008 12:00AM

Much softer spot for Gondola


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Gondola should appreciate the class relief when she drops into a $20,000 claiming race for fillies and mares that have never won two races on Sunday at Hastings. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint attracted seven horses and goes as the seventh race.

Trained by Dino Condilenios, Gondola began her career with a sharp seven-length win in a $15,000 maiden race on May 10. A 3-year-old B.C.-bred filly by Finality, Gondola also ran a good race in her second start, finishing fourth in a $50,000 optional claiming race. The second-place finisher, Lecturing Lynn, came back to win the $50,000 Chariot Chaser Stakes at Northlands Park on July 4.

In her latest race, Gondola was used as a rabbit in the $53,000 Supernaturel Stakes for her stablemate Daymaker. With Felipe Valdez in the irons, Gondola did her job well, setting an honest pace and then letting Daymaker come through along the rail. Unfortunately for their connections, Daymaker got stopped cold at the quarter pole and finished fourth.

Gondola figures to be either on or sitting just off of the lead, and should be tough to handle with the move back to a sprint. Valdez retains the mount.

Miss Best Bet is a very sharp horse right now. She won an $11,000 maiden race going 6 1/2 furlongs on June 21 and then just missed at this level in her second start of the year on July 13. Trained by Terry Jordan, Miss Best Bet will receive a lot of betting support with leading rider Mario Gutierrez taking the call.

Deadly Zone could be the sleeper. She ran well coming off the bench last year and she has been working sharply while preparing for her first start of 2008.