05/31/2005 11:00PM

J V Bennett still going strong at 12


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Friday night racing returns to Hastings for the first time since Aug. 16, 2002. A total of 12 Friday night cards have been scheduled for the 2005 season, with post time for the first race set at 6:25 Pacific.

The feature race Friday is a $20,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds and up and it attracted J V Bennett, who is the only horse in the field of eight that has ever run under the lights at Hastings.

J V Bennett, who is trained by Peter Stephen, has compiled an amazing record over his career. From 102 starts he has won 34 races and finished in the money 62 times. A 12-year-old gelding, J V Bennett has gone unplaced in both of his starts this year. But there should be plenty of speed to set up his good late move, and he's dropping to his lowest level since he won a $20,000 route in September 2003. Robert Skelly will be aboard for the first time.

Above the Clouds could be favored on Friday. He earned a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 79 in his front-running two-length win over Paladdie in a $15,000 claiming sprint May 15. He was claimed out of the race by trainer Steve Henson, who is off to an excellent start at the meet with 3 wins from 7 starts. Above the Clouds likes to be in front, though, and he could have a hard time making the lead, especially if the speedy Western Admiral is gunned from the rail. Frank Fuentes rides Above the Clouds.