10/24/2001 11:00PM

'Star' seems well-placed going long

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Star of Dawn looks like the horse to beat in Saturday's feature, a conditioned $8,000 claiming race for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, which drew seven horses.

Hastings Park will open its gates at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday to accommodate an early start to its simulcast schedule, which includes the World Thoroughbred Championships from Belmont. The first Breeders' Cup race, the Distaff, goes off at 10:20 Pacific. Post time for the first live race is 1:10 p.m.

Star of Dawn is the lone 3-year-old in the field for the feature. She showed potential earlier this year with a win over straight maidens on July 14, but she hasn't hit the board in five subsequent starts. In four of those races she was facing much tougher company than she meets here, and she broke in the air after being dropped into an $8,000 nonwinners of two in her most recent start. Her fifth-place finish to Wanna Begone three starts back in a $25,000 claiming race looks good enough to win here.

Star of Dawn, who is stepping out of her conditions, has never won going this far.

Michael Turner trains Star of Dawn and he has named a resurgent Alan Cuthbertson to ride. Cuthbertson has won 10 races from 44 starts here since returning from riding at Assiniboia Downs this summer, and he was aboard $78.20 longshot Dariyoun's Command Wednesday night.

Trainer Jim Brown is having an outstanding meet, winning with 23 percent of his 119 starters, and he has entered I Wanna Dance, who finished second at this distance and condition two starts ago.

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