05/06/2004 11:00PM

Canada invaders look strong

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AUBURN, Wash. - It's only fitting that Canadians have left their mark on the Hastings Park Handicap, which is named for Emerald Downs's sister track in Vancouver. Tucumcari shipped south to win the 6 1/2-furlong stakes for fillies and mares in 1997, and Fair Apache made the same successful journey in 2000.

Locals have held sway for the past three runnings, but a trio of British Columbia invaders will try to break that string on Sunday, when the $40,000 Hastings Park Handicap will be run for the ninth time.

The Hastings Park-based entrants include the 120-pound highweight Shelby Madison, who will be saddled by Rick Terry. Shelby Madison, a 5-year-old daughter of Regal Intention, has earned over $220,000 and has six victories in Canada, but had to settle for fourth in her only previous race at Emerald, when she was beaten three lengths by Infernal McGoon in last year's Emerald Breeders' Cup Distaff at a mile.

Shelby Madison prepped for Sunday's race with a good third to the outstanding filly Dancinwithavixen in the 6 1/2-furlong Strawberry Morn Stakes at Hastings on April 17. Debbie Hoonan will take over the mount from regular rider Pedro Alvarado, who will not make the trip here from Canada.

Joining Shelby Madison in the Canadian contingent are Brave Miss, who won a pair of stakes over this track last season, and Castle Mountain, who won a $50,000 optional claiming sprint here in 2002.

Heading the Emerald-based runners in the field of 12 are Lasting Code and Aunt Sophie.