07/20/2006 12:00AM

Pace couldset up well for 'Craig'


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Commodore Craig could be favored over a tough group of older sprinters in the best race at Hastings Saturday. The 6 1/2-furlong $50,000 optional claiming race drew six horses and goes as the third race.

Trained by Robbie Anderson, Commodore Craig is as consistent as they come. A 7-year-old gelding, Commodore Craig has started 35 times and has finished in the top three in 29 of his races. He has only six wins, though, which makes him a tough horse to key on top. Commodore Craig is coming off of a very close third-place finish behind No Sox Fox in a $65,000 optional race June 24, and with a potential speed duel between Celt and Metatron on Saturday, he could get a perfect stalking trip. He will be ridden by Frank Fuentes.

Celt hasn't raced since he won a $50,000 optional sprint April 29. According to his trainer, Dino Condilenios, the reason for the layoff has nothing to do with Celt's physical condition. Condilenios said he has entered Celt on a number of occasions, but none of the races filled. Celt cannot be rated, and is the one they should be chasing. With apprentice Mario Gutierrez aboard at 111 pounds, he will be tough to catch if he gets away on his own.

Chad Hoverson, who rides Metatron, will have a big influence on how the race is run. If he sends Metatron after Celt, there's a good chance neither of them will be around at the finish. If he tries to stalk, Celt could be gone.