06/26/2001 11:00PM

A team that's hard to beat


AUBURN, Wash. - Leading rider Ben Russell and trainer Dan Kenney, who trails Howard Belvoir in the trainer standings by only one win, will team up again in Thursday's featured seventh race at Emerald Downs, a mile race for older $12,500 runners that has lured a field of eight.

Kenney will send out Aldorado, a 4-year-old son of Altastarr who races for Russ Moore and Martin Kenney, with Russell named to ride at 119 pounds. Trainer and rider have already teamed for

13 scores at the meeting, which is more than half of Kenney's 20 wins and more than a fifth of Russell's 59 victories. They would appear to have a good chance to add to their totals Thursday, as Aldorado defeated $32,000 company at a mile last season at 3 and is coming off a sharp score over older $10,000 runners at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Ceetoit, who comes off a poor performance as the favorite against slightly tougher at a mile on June 15, looms as the most dangerous threat to Aldorado. Ceetoit, a confirmed front-runner, broke in a tangle to get away well behind his rivals in the June 15 race and never recovered, finishing fourth of five at odds of 9-5. The 6-year-old Ceetoit has won 6 of 13 starts at Emerald Downs and 5 of 14 tries at a mile, so he figures to be well-backed off those sterling records. An alert beginning will be essential, however, as Ceetoit must break from post 8.

Also dangerous are Bulls and Bears and Thunzarr, who finished one-two in an $8,000 claiming race at 1 1/16 miles on June 14. That race was run in the excellent time of 1:44.20, which suggests the top two finishers may be able to withstand a rise in class.