11/17/2006 12:00AM

Stephanson continues his climb


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Stephanson will try to win his third straight race at Hastings when he takes on Mountain Musician in an allowance race for 2-year-olds that haven't won a stakes race. The 6 1/2-furlong feature attracted 11 horses and goes as the seventh race.

Stephanson has stakes horse written all over him. A half-brother to last year's local 2-year-old champion, Regal Request, Stephanson showed a lot of potential in his debut, finishing a close third in a 3 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race Sept. 23. He cruised to an easy 3 1/4-length win when he stretched out to 6 1/2 furlongs Oct. 15 and then beat $50,000 entry-level optional horses at the same distance Oct. 29.

Trained by Allan Jack, Stephanson has good speed and he'll either be on the lead or stalking a very fast Ghost Pirate. Stephanson will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez.

Mountain Musician, who is trained by Gary Demorest, could be a threat from off the pace. He's still a maiden, but has been stakes-placed twice, and in his latest start he made a strong late move to finish second by a head to Ookashada in the 1 1/16-mile Ascot Graduation Breeders' Cup Oct. 29.

There is plenty of speed in the field, and jockey Anderson Ward will likely let Mountain Musician settle early and then make one big run.

Ghost Pirate has flashed excellent speed in both of his starts, both at 3 1/2 furlongs.