05/26/2005 12:00AM

California invader one to catch


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Southern California invader Processor looks like the one to beat in a $50,000 optional sprint for 3-year-olds Saturday at Hastings.

Processor has won two races. He won his maiden going 5 1/2 furlongs for $50,000 at Santa Anita last September, and in his next start, at Hollywood Park, beat $62,500 claimers at six furlongs. He hasn't raced since finishing sixth in a $50,000 sprint at Santa Anita Jan. 28.

Processor was claimed out of that race by the Budget Stable and was shipped to trainer Janet Armstrong's barn at Hastings. Armstrong has won with 20 percent of her starters at the meet, but she wasn't exactly bursting with enthusiasm when she talked about Processor's chances Saturday.

"He's training well enough, but most of the horses we've brought up from California have needed a start before they run their best race," she said.

Processor appears to have enough speed to make the lead and he won't have to go nearly as fast as they went in his last start, when the interior fractions were 20.80 and 43.40. Nicky Wright rides.

Jack Brown looks like the main threat. He's won both of his starts this year, including a victory over $35,000 claimers May 15, when he came from slightly off the pace. His trainer, Barbara Heads, is also having a strong meet, having won with 7 of her 32 starters. Dave Nuesch has the call.