07/06/2007 12:00AM

Ookashada, Stephanson meet again


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Ookashada returns to Hasting where he figures to be favored in the inaugural running of the $50,000 Chris Loseth Handicap Sunday. Stephanson, fresh off of a win in a no-conditions allowance race June 10, looks like the main threat in the 1o1/16-mile feature, which drew seven 3-year-old geldings.

Ookshada was the champion 2-year-old in British Columbia last year, and so far he has to be considered the top-ranked 3-year-old at Hastings this year. Trained by Toni Cloutier, Ookashada was upset by Stephanson in the CTHS Sales Stakes April 29, but he came back to win the Jim Coleman Province May 21. Stephanson finished third behind Thesaratogaexpress.

Following his win in the Province, Ookashada was shipped to Stampede Park where he finished third over a muddy track in the $125,000 Alberta Derby at 1o1/16 miles.

"He ran a good race," said Cloutier. "The main thing is that he came out of it in good shape because it was a pretty rough track."

Ookashada has very good speed, but Cloutier was non-committal about the strategy that jockey Pedro Alvarado will use on Sunday.

Stephanson, who is trained by Allan Jack, came from off the pace to win the 6 1/2-furlong CTHS Sales Stakes. But he showed more speed than usual in a win over Beckenbauer in his latest start. In his first try going around three turns, he set honest fractions and held off a late move by Beckenbauer, who is also entered here.