08/08/2002 12:00AM

When he's able, Bates runs big


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Buckeye Bates stands out over six other older horses in Saturday's feature race at Hastings Park, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for $20,000 claimers.

Buckeye Bates doesn't make it to the races very often - seven times in the last three years - but when he does he's tough to beat. He has won 5 of his 7 races and beat a very tough Mister Cy in a $25,000 sprint June 15. He's going for his fifth straight win and if he holds up he will likely get it.

"You always worry about him when you send him over," said his trainer, Frank Barroby. "But he's going pretty good right now and he should be tough."

Buckeye Bates obviously has some physical problems that Barroby didn't want to reveal, but he was quick to credit the track maintenance crew for helping Buckeye Bates remain active.

"I've been here for over 25 years and have never seen the track better than it is this year," he said. "If it wasn't as good as it is I don't think he would have been able to stand up to training."

Devilastro finished third to Buckeye Bates on June 15 and hasn't raced since. He won two races from five starts last year but he has run into some tough ones in his three outings this year.

Harold Barroby has two horses entered and they will race uncoupled. Real Quest figures to be up close in the early stages and Paladdie should be heard from late. Paladdie won three races last year, including the Richmond Derby Trial, but hasn't hit the board in six starts this year.

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