07/23/2003 11:00PM

Speedsters to test each other


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Something will have to give when Devilastro and Test Drive face each other in Saturday's $25,000 sprint for older horses at Hastings. Both horses know how to win races, but each also prefers to be in front early.

Devilastro, who hasn't been worse than second in his last seven starts, will have a bit of an advantage as he drew the rail, while Test Drive will have to be sent hard from his outside post position. They stand out over the five other horses entered in the 6 1/2-furlong feature, which goes as the ninth race.

Test Drive, who is trained by Terry Jordan and will be ridden by Nicky Wright, will likely be favored. He's won his last three sprints, and is dropping out of a $35,000 route where he forced the issue early but tired to finish a distant fifth. He won his only other start this year, a $20,000 sprint June 1.

Devilastro led every step of the way to beat a solid field of $20,000 sprinters July 1, and while he figures to face stern pressure from Test Drive Saturday, he has shown that he's capable of winning after battling through quick fractions early. He's trained by leading trainer Dino Condilenios and will be ridden by Felipe Valdez.

J V Bennett is also no stranger to the winner's circle, with 27 wins from 82 starts. A 10-year-old gelding, J V Bennett hasn't won a race since last August and must not have liked racing in New Mexico, where his best finish from four starts last winter was a distant third in an allowance race. He looked a lot better in his first start back at Hastings, finishing third to Orchid's Son for $25,000 June 21. Peter Stephen trains and Frank Fuentes will ride.