06/09/2010 12:00AM

Taylor tough first off the claim


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - It is tough to separate what appears to be a well-matched group of older horses running in Friday's seventh race at Hastings. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up drew nine horses running for a top claiming price of $12,500 and looks like the most interesting race on the eight-race card.

Raising Memo, trained by Troy Taylor, could end up being the favorite, despite making his first start since he was claimed for $10,000 at Golden Gate last December. Anything coming out of Taylor's barn usually receives a lot of support at the betting windows, and over the past five years Taylor has won at a 19 percent clip with horses he has brought back for their first start after being claimed. That figure swells to 38 percent when they are coming back in 181 days or more.

Raising Memo finished second in his last start, but he also likes to win races. He has compiled a 5-6-3 record from 21 starts. Most of his races have been on Tapeta, but he has won on dirt and has worked decently since he arrived at Hastings in March.

Mario Gutierrez figures to ease Raising Memo off of what should be a lively pace.

Battle of Hastings will be the one they have to catch. Trained by Jim Brown, Battle of Hastings is dropping after setting extremely fast fractions before tiring in a $25,000 claiming race May 28. Acting on behalf of Shamrock Racing Stable Ltd., Brown claimed Battle of Hastings out of a win for $12,500 on May 15. Battle of Hastings should be able to establish a clear lead without going nearly as fast as he did in his latest start, and he appears to be a serious threat to take them from start to finish.

Gold Ticket also has some speed and used it to score a front-running win in a $7,500 claiming race May 15.

Full Power Ahead will need some help up front. He is coming off of a fourth-place finish going 6 1/2 furlongs for $17,500 on May 21, and in his first start here, he closed with a rush to finish second for the same price going six furlongs on May 1. His last win came in a $12,500 claiming race at Golden Gate in February.

Loyal Son and Itlee also could make some noise from off the pace.