05/11/2007 12:00AM

Speed and class a ‘Lethal’ combo


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Lethal Grande looks like the one they must catch in the feature race at Hastings Sunday, a $35,000 optional claiming race for 3-year-olds and up. Trained by Tom Longstaff, Lethal Grande looks like the only confirmed front-runner in the 6 1 /2-furlong sprint, which drew seven horses and goes as the ninth race.

An Oregon-bred 8-year-old gelding, Lethal Grande is coming off of a very good effort in a similar race April 28. He forced an honest pace and held on well to finish a clear third. It's hard to find a rival who can press Lethal Grande early in this race, and there's a good chance his jockey, Felipe Valdez, will be able to reserve some of Lethal Grande's excellent speed for the stretch drive. Lethal Grande has plenty of back class and is no stranger to the winner's circle. He has won 22 races and earned $383,622 in his career.

Rx Registrar has tactical speed, and the lightly raced 4-year-old closed out his 3-year-old season with a very good third-place finish in a quickly run $25,000 optional claiming sprint Nov. 4. He looked sharp working six furlongs in 1:14.80 May 6, and his trainer, Carl Lausten, won with the only horse he's started at the meet.

Golden Pursuit finished a half-length in front of Lethal Grande April 28, but he does his best running late and he's going to need some help up front to soften up Lethal Grande. Although the majority of Golden Pursuit's 11 wins have been in longer events, he's certainly capable of winning here.