08/08/2002 11:00PM

Test Drive can cruise in sprint


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Test Drive drops into an easier spot and looks like the one to beat in Sunday's featured race, a $25,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds. Seven horses have been entered, including River Run and Alferrari, who are both coming off of wins and will have a large say in how the race unfolds. River Run and Alferrari are trained by Terry Jordan and will run uncoupled.

Test Drive has been competitive while running against stakes horses and $50,000 optional types all year. He came within a nose of beating likely Canadian Derby favorite Lord Shogun in a $50,000 optional sprint May 12 and finished third to Salt Grinder in the 6 1/2-furlong Klondike June 2. In his last couple of starts he finished fourth in a quickly run $50,000 optional route Aug. 3 and third to an impressive Dancers Magic going 6 1/2 furlongs July 20. He has enough speed to stay in touch with either River Run or Alferrari, and just about any of his sprints look good enough to win this.

Jordan's two both have excellent speed, and it is unlikely that he will instruct his riders - Nicola Wright on River Run and Pedro Alvarado on Alferrari - to send both.

River Run has also showed that he can come from slightly off of the pace. He won a maiden race for $20,000 by rallying from third. He drew the rail here, however, and with Wright able to do the assigned weight of 104 pounds, it's likely that he will be the one they're chasing. He wired $15,000 claimers and was claimed by Jordan on July 20. Alferrari has won his last two starts and is coming right back for the same price after a front-running win July 27.