04/12/2006 11:00PM

'Spirit' has recency on her side

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Spirit to Spare figures to be very tough to beat in the $50,000 Brighouse Belles for fillies and mares at Hastings Saturday. The 6 1/2-furlong feature drew eight horses and goes as the seventh race.

A Saskatchewan-bred, Spirit to Spare has won all five of her starts at 6 1/2 furlongs and she returns to Hastings following a successful winter in California. Although she went unplaced in two starts on the turf there, either of her two starts on dirt would likely win here. Spirit to Spare won a 6 1/2-furlong $50,000 claiming race at Santa Anita Jan. 5, earning a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure. In her most recent start, she finished third behind Grade 1 winner Behaving Badly in the Las Flores Handicap Feb. 25.

Spirit to Spare had a brilliant five-furlong work in 59.40 seconds on April 6, and according to her trainer, Tom Longstaff, she came out of it in excellent shape.

"Plus, she's the only one that's been racing, which should give her a big edge over the rest of the field," he said.

Felipe Valdez rides.

Queenledo looks like the main threat to Spirit to Spare. In her lone start at Hastings she finished second behind Monashee in the Grade 3 British Columbia Oaks.

Slewpast won five stakes races last year and she runs well fresh. Trained by Robbie Anderson, Slewpast won the Fair Lady Stakes in her first start of 2005.