05/17/2007 12:00AM

Trip likely to separate contenders


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Long Journey edged out Captain T W Bly by a half-length for second when they met in an entry-level $50,000 optional claiming race won by Packer Sweep April 29. They look like the ones to beat in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint that carries the same conditions Saturday at Hastings. A total of 12 were entered but 10 can run.

It's difficult to separate Long Journey and Captain T W Bly, and the one who gets the better trip will probably win.

Long Journey, who is trained by Steve Henson, saved ground for most of the way before swinging out four wide after they had straightened out in the stretch in the April 29 race.

On the other hand, Captain T W Bly lost quite a few lengths while going wide the whole way. He's moving to an inside post, and with the potential for a ground-saving trip, he could have the edge here.

Captain T W Bly's trainer, Troy Taylor, and jockey, Mario Gutierrez, have both been red hot at the meet. Taylor has won with 4 of his 9 starters and Gutierrez is easily leading the jockey standings with 17 wins, 8 clear of David Wilson.

Long Journey's supporters will point out that he came back with a very sharp five-furlong bullet work in 59.80 seconds May 11, and he could take a big step forward in his second start following a lengthy layoff.

There is plenty of speed in the field. Frosty Finish, Rogue River, Slew's Boy, and Masterpeach all figure to be involved early. It could set up nicely for Gold Ticket, who came from off the pace to win a $25,000 maiden race in his debut May 6.