07/08/2004 12:00AM

'Louie' back with his friends

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Louie Downtown figures to be a solid favorite over six other 3-year-olds in the feature race at Hastings on Saturday, a $50,000 optional claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs. Louie Downtown hasn't been able to beat the top horses in the local 3-year-old division, but the last time he ran at this level, June 19, he won by two lengths in a very fast time.

Louie Downtown, who is trained by Tom Longstaff and will be ridden by Pedro Alvardo, faces quite a diverse group of horses in this $23,000 sprint.

Proud Son won two restricted stakes in 2003, and this will be his second start of the meet. He showed speed before tiring to finish last in the Klondike Handicap June 12.

Columbia Moon was a very impressive debut winner in a maiden special weight race June 27. He earned a 67 Beyer Speed Figure, which isn't anything to get overly excited about, but he went extremely wide while making a strong move around the stretch turn and was much the best. He could be a nice one.

Five Wild Cats was favored in the race Louie Downtown won June 19, but $25,000 claiming is the highest level at which he's won, and he might not be up to these.

Invader Justice is a half-brother to Vernon Invader, a multiple stakes winner with earning of over $611,000. Invader Justice overcame a poor start to beat special weight maidens in his second start.

Rules of War added Lasix for his second start, and it seemed to make a huge difference as he romped to a four-length victory over $25,000 maidens.