09/11/2002 11:00PM

Timely Minister tries sweep

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Timely Minister heads a competitive field of nine older horses going 1 1/2 miles Saturday afternoon in a starter handicap, the third leg of the Endurance Series.

Although Timely Minister has been assigned high weight of 122 pounds, he might not be favored. Faithful Gal has won two of her three starts at 12 furlongs, and the Pat Jarvis-trained entrymates of Big Mig and Sensitive Issue have both done well in marathons. Plus, Tavolino recently defeated many of these going 1 1/16 miles.

A five year old mare by Son Of Briartic, Faithful Gal beat older colts and geldings in a $10,000 starter race going 1 1/2 miles Aug. 17 and will get 11 pounds from Timely Minister.

Last year, Faithful Gal just missed, losing to a tough Let's Go Rusty in this race, and it's hard to ignore her record of two wins and a second going this far from three starts. She is versatile, and with the front-running Tavolino in the race, her jockey Mario Velazquez will likely try and put her in a stalking position.

"She popped a puss pocket after her last race but it seems fine now, and she's training super," trainer Andrew Collins said. "She's a hard mare to ride, but Mario has won with her a couple of times and suits her perfectly. She should run a good race."

Timely Minister won the first two legs of the Endurance Series, and finished a fast-closing third to Tavolino in a 1 1/16-mile starter race Sept. 1. He never has gone this far, but he looked strong at the end of his victory, going 11 furlongs Aug. 16, and he galloped out full of run in his third to Tavolino. Jim Loseth trains, and Pedro Alvarado rides.

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