08/04/2005 12:00AM

'Joey' and Celt face off again

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Favour for Joey looks like the one to beat in the feature race at Hastings Saturday, a $35,000 optional sprint for older horses that drew eight horses. Celt, who is one of the fastest horses on the grounds, has also been entered in the 6 1/2-furlong event.

Favour for Joey, who is trained by Felimon Alvarado, is coming off of a second-place finish behind Columbia Moon in a similar race July 23. A 5-year-old gelding, Favour for Joey forced an extremely fast pace and then held on well to finish eight lengths clear of the third horse, Slews Carousel, who is also entered here.

Favour for Joey drew the rail, and his rider, Pedro Alvarado, will have to decide if he wants to hook Celt right out of the gate or try to stalk.

Celt was basically eased in the same race that Favour for Joey exits. There were extenuating circumstances, though, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him rebound with a big effort here.

Celt, who is trained by Dino Condilenios, was making his first start in almost two months, and for the first time since August 2002 he didn't make the lead. The 6-year-old Celt was hung out three wide going into the first turn and then drifted out badly around the turn. Celt's race was pretty much over by then. If he can make the lead on Saturday, he could be dangerous. Frank Fuentes rides.