07/30/2009 12:00AM

Old-timer Nineleventurbo still one to beat


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - It is hard not to love a horse like Nineleventurbo, who will be one of the favorites in the fourth race at Hastings on Saturday. The six entrants will be running for a top claiming price of $17,500 in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up.

An 11-year-old gelding, Nineleventurbo has been a gem of consistency throughout his career. In 68 starts he has compiled an enviable record of 15-11-15 for earnings of $253,492.

The husband and wife team of Robert and Vicki Gilker, claimed Nineleventurbo out of a $6,250 nonwinners-of-three claiming race at Golden Gate on January 26, 2002. Robert is the trainer. Vicki is the exercise rider for the barn.

"It took a lot of hard work to turn him around," said Gilker. "The first time we ran him he was scratched on post parade."

The first time he actually ran for the Gilkers he finished third in an $11,000 starter race at Hastings. In his second start he won a $10,000 claiming race at Emerald Downs. Nineleventurbo's best performance in a stakes race was a second-place finish in the $50,000 Hastings Speed Handicap in 2004. In total he has won 13 races for the Gilkers.

"He's paid his way and he's also paid for a few of our other horses," said Gilker. "He's a very popular horse on the backstretch and people are always feeding him mints."

Nineleventurbo won two races in 2008 and in his first start this year he finished third in a $17,500 claiming race on June 28. There doesn't appear to be any confirmed speed in Saturday's race. Nineleventurbo has some early lick and if he breaks sharply he could be tough to handle.

Chad Hoverson will be aboard the classy gelding.

Distorted Glamour could end up being the favorite. He finished just behind Nineleventurbo in his latest race but he was claimed by Troy Taylor, who has been the leading trainer at Hastings for the past two year. Taylor also has a commanding lead in the standings this year and will likely notch the fourth title of his career.

Distorted Glamour has shown speed in some of his races and he could be dangerous breaking from the rail with Fernando Perez aboard.

Vision of Roses and Meaux Power should appreciate the move back to a sprint.

Sly Striker is coming off of a dull effort on June 14, but he is dropping to a new low and he also runs well fresh.

Henry West rounds out the field.