06/02/2004 11:00PM

Speedballs make frantic pace likely


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Plenty of speed will be on display in the second race at Hastings, a $50,000 optional sprint that drew six horses, including two of the fastest horses on the grounds, Dancewithavictor and Celt. Both horses like to be in front, and something will have to give when they face each other Saturday.

Dancewithavictor, who will be ridden by Pedro Alvarado, is very sharp right now, and his final time of 1:15.74 for his win in an allowance race May 22 equaled the fastest 6 1/2 furlongs at Hastings in the past three years. A 7-year-old gelding, Dancewithavictor has won his last two starts and was given a career-high Beyer Figure, 92, in both races. Dancewithavictor is trained by Tom Longstaff, who is confident going into the race.

"The way he's going, I wouldn't be surprised if he broke the track record," Longstaff said. "Celt's a nice horse, but I don't think he can warm my horse up right now."

Celt has made the lead in each of his races since the fall of 2002, and set very fast fractions before tiring badly in the Hong Kong Jockey Club in his initial start this season. Celt did the same thing last year, however, and came right back to win his next start. He ended up winning four races in 2003 and placed in two stakes. He's trained by Dino Condilenios and will be ridden by Frank Fuentes.

Ezra will be making his first start of the year, and he looked very sharp working five furlongs in 59.60 seconds May 30.

Admission gates will open at 8:45 a.m. for simulcast wagering on Belmont, and the first 10,000 fans will receive a Smarty Jones ballcap.