02/22/2003 1:00AM

El Dorado Shooter holds on

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ALBANY, Calif. - El Dorado Shooter ($5.60) engaged in a blistering early duel with Giovannetti and held him off by a head to win the $100,000 Ken Maddy Sprint at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

The two dueled through opening fractions of 21.08 and 43.16 seconds as they opened eight lengths on third-place runner Debonair Joe. The two continued down the stretch together as Radar Contact and Debonair Joe cut into their margin, but they held on.

El Dorado Shooter's time was 1:09.08, a second slower than when he won the race in 2001. Giovannetti was a head in front of Radar Contact, who was three-quarters of a length in front of Debonair Joe.

The outcome of the six-furlong may have been determined at the break when even-money favorite Echo Eddie stumbled badly and unseated jockey Chad Schvaneveldt.

"The third jump out, I don't know why he stumbled, but it popped me up enough that I was gone," Schvaneveldt said. "It's too bad because I knew he could win."

Echo Eddie likely would have been in a perfect stalking position and had a chance as El Dorado Shooter ran his final quarter in 25.92 seconds.

"I kept looking past (Giovan-netti) for the others," winning jockey Russell Baze said. "I knew they were coming because we were walking, but we were walking fast enough."

El Dorado Shooter earned $55,000 to lift his career earnings to $388,390 with his 10th win in 20 starts.