05/13/2010 11:00PM

Plan for Include the Grand: Gun it


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Dave Milburn is expecting a big effort from Include the Grand in the feature race at Hastings on Sunday. Include the Grand should receive plenty of public support in a classified allowance race for fillies and mares. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint, which also carries a $50,000 claiming option, attracted seven horses, including Against the Sky, who was the champion older female in British Columbia in 2008.

Include the Grand is the one to beat. She set the pace before tiring to finish fourth going six furlongs for the same condition on April 25. The winner, Concert Music, came right back to score a decisive victory in the $50,000 Brighouse Belles last Sunday. Include the Grand won three of her last five races in 2009, including her finale in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race Nov. 1. Milburn thinks she's ready to begin another streak of solid races.

"She is really on top of her game right now," Milburn said. "She has good speed, and we're certainly going to use it Sunday. If someone wants to try and run with her early, well, good luck to them."

Include the Grand indicated her sharpness with a bullet four-furlong move in 46.20 seconds on May 9.

Pedro Alvarado will be aboard Include the Grand for the first time.

Against the Sky has been entered for the $50,000 tag. It is the first time she has been offered for sale since she won a $20,000 claiming race in June 2008. She then reeled off five straight wins, including a score in the Grade 3 Ballerina.

Against the Sky, trained by a white-hot Craig MacPherson, didn't have nearly the same type of record last year, winning a single race from six starts. Her lone win came going 1 1/8 miles in the $54,000 B.C. Cup Distaff. She is a much better horse going a middle distance and Sunday's race should be viewed as a prep for something longer.

Smokin Danielle appears to be the only horse with enough speed to keep up with Include the Grand early. Trained by Toni Cloutier, Smokin Danielle will be making her first start since she finished last in Include the Grand's win on Nov. 1. She drew the rail, and Mario Gutierrez will likely put her into the race right from the start.

Daymaker could make her presence known if an all-out duel develops.