04/29/2005 12:00AM

'Writer' set for season debut

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Western Writer, who figures to be one of the top 3-year-olds at Hastings, makes his 2005 debut in Sunday's $75,000 optional sprint. Although only five horses entered the 6 1/2-furlong feature, it's a quality field, and it should give the connections of He's So Regal, Hall Dancer, and Spaghetti Mouse an early indicator of their standing in the 3-year-old division.

Western Writer, ridden by David Nuesch, is easily the most accomplished horse in the race. Western Writer, a Florida-bred gelding, won his maiden race sprinting, but improved dramatically when he went around three turns, finishing third in the Ascot Graduation. Western Writer then captured a 1 1/16-mile allowance race by 7 1/2 lengths in his final start of 2004.

Western Writer worked a sharp five furlongs in 59.40 seconds on April 24, but trainer Brian Phillips said he still doesn't expect him to show much early lick.

"Last year he went 58 and change, and we thought he would show more speed," Phillips said. "But no, he just walked out of there as usual and didn't get rolling until late in the race."

Hall Dancer is stepping up off an impressive 6 1/2-length win in a $25,000 claiming race on April 16. He will be tested for class in this spot, but he's the only entrant who has had a start this year, and unless Jumper goes with him, he could be the lone speed.

Spaghetti Mouse and He's So Regal won maiden special weight races in their final starts as 2-year-olds.