05/19/2004 11:00PM

Metatron clear class of field

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Metatron looks like a standout over four other older horses in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race that goes as the second race at Hastings Saturday. After all, he was good enough to have the lead over 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft after a mile in the Grade 3 nine-furlong Ben Ali at Keeneland, finishing third, and it appears trainer Mel Snow has Metatron well-prepared for his first outing since last August.

A 5-year-old son of Silver Ghost, Metatron has been very impressive in his works this spring, particularly in his six-furlong move in 1:12.60 April 28. According to the Hastings clockers, he set fractions of 24, 48, and 1:00.20 before galloping out seven furlongs in 1:25.60.

According to leading rider Pedro Alvarado, who has the mount Saturday, "He's been the most impressive horse I've been on all year."

While his lone win in 2003 was in a 1 1/16-mile optional $100,000 claiming race at Golden Gate, three of his four lifetime wins have come sprinting.

Metatron is probably fast enough to go right to the front, but with speedsters Lord Shogun and Dancewithavictor in the race he'll likely sit just off what should be a lively pace.

Lord Shogun hasn't started since finishing second in an optional race at Northlands Park last August, and Dancewithavictor is coming back in just seven days following an easy win over $35,000 optional horses at Hastings. Both appear to need the lead.

A fast pace should also benefit Nineleventurbo, who just missed in a $50,000 optional sprint May 2.