02/19/2004 12:00AM

El Dorado Shooter: Top gun


ALBANY, Calif. - El Dorado Shooter will spot five rivals from one to seven pounds when he returns to the races Saturday at Golden Gate Fields in the $100,000 Ken Maddy Sprint.

Northern California's top sprinter, El Dorado Shooter has been on the sidelines since dominating the field in the Grade 3 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint last June 7. He is fully recovered from surgery to remove a small chip from his right front ankle.

El Dorado Shooter has won 12 of 23 starts, including 5 of 10 here, where he is the former track record-holder for six furlongs. He won last year's Maddy by a head over Giovannetti.

El Dorado Shooter doesn't need the lead but will likely have it. He drew the outside post 6, which is just what trainer Cliff DeLima wanted.

Despite his recent inactivity, El Dorado Shooter was assigned high weight of 121 pounds for the six-furlong California-bred race, one more pound than Green Team, who has earned triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in his five starts at this distance since being claimed for $32,000 by trainer Jeff Bonde last July at the Solano County Fair.

Giovannetti, who went head-and-head with El Dorado Shooter for all six furlongs in last year's Maddy, will be getting six pounds. Texas Chili, who trailed El Dorado Shooter by three lengths in their lone meeting, and Grade 1 winner Debonair Joe, fourth in last year's Maddy, also get six pounds, while Con Quixote gets seven pounds.

Giovannetti has speed, although he has been stopping badly in recent starts. Last year, he and El Dorado Shooter were head and head through fractions of 21.08 and 43.16 seconds in this race.

Con Quixote also has good early speed, but he is unlikely to be with El Dorado Shooter early, a fact that trainer Art Sherman thinks could work in his favor.

Green Team, Texas Chili, and Debonair Joe will be moving late with Green Team likely to get first run.

Green Team is the now horse. He lost to Trapper by a neck in the California Sprint Championship at Bay Meadows, then won the Cal Cup Sprint. He was second in the On Trust Handicap, then was second to Shake You Down in the Sunshine Millions Sprint.

"He's just a real professional horse," said Bonde, who keeps a close eye on the 5-year-old gelding's blood count because he tends to be anemic.

Saturday's off track may favor El Dorado Shooter, but the possible pace scenario could work in Green Team's favor.

His runner-up effort in the Sunshine Millions at Gulfstream indicates he is at the top of his game.