06/07/2001 11:00PM

'Smokin' seeking second win


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Smokin Finish, third in the Klondike Stakes in his initial start of the year, should go off favored as part of an entry that includes Irish Pleasure in Saturday's $50,000 optional race at Hastings Park. The 6 1/2-furlong feature drew eight other 3-year-olds who are still searching for their second win.

This will be the first time that Smokin Finish, trained by Frank Barroby, has run in a conditional race since winning his maiden in record time at 3 1/2 furlongs on the Nursery Course last July. After his initial win, he was sent off as the odds-on choice in the B.C. Nursery Stakes on Aug. 7, where he finished a troubled fourth. He was again favored to win the Jack Diamond Futurity on Aug. 27, but after leading into the stretch, he tired late and ended up finishing second to Dancing John. He made his 3-year-old debut in the Klondike Stakes on May 19 and finished a respectable third to Diglett. David Wilson will ride.

While Smokin Finish figures to be prominent early, his stablemate, Irish Pleasure, will likely be heard from late. He might prefer more distance, though, as his best races were a couple of second-place finishes to Diglett at 1 1/16 miles last year. In his most recent race he finished a disappointing fifth as the heavy favorite in a $50,000 optional race at 6 1/2 furlongs May 27. He reportedly bled, but with the addition of Lasix and an expected rapid pace he could rebound in a big way.

Icy Strait has shown good speed in his two starts. He wired a field of $35,000 claimers at 6 1/2 furlongs in his debut May 9 and after leading for close to seven furlongs, he finished third in a $50,000 optional race at 1 1/16 miles May 26.