05/02/2003 12:00AM

Youth may be served in sprint

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Discernment, a 3-year-old gelding who won a $32,000 claiming race at Santa Anita April 18, may go favored over nine older runners in the Sunday feature at Hastings, a six-furlong $35,000 optional race for nonwinners of two. Included in the field is last year's B.C. Derby runner-up, Blowin in the Wind.

Discernment was claimed out of his last race by Bahadur Cheema and shipped up to Hastings to trainer Terry Jordan. He's raced five times this year, all at Santa Anita, winning twice and finishing second twice. He has serious speed and went in 21 seconds for the first quarter-mile when he won his maiden for $40,000 Jan. 18. It's early in the year for a 3-year-old to be taking on older runners, but Discernment's 87 Beyer Figure is the best in the field at the distance. Anthony Stephen will ride Discernment from the inside post.

Jordan had a remarkable year in 2002, winning with over half of his starters, but with a lot more horses in his barn this year, he doesn't expect to equal that winning rate.

"It was quite a year," he said. "In this game you're considered very successful if you can win with 25 percent of your starters, and I would be thrilled if I could win with one of every four starters this season."

Sunday entrant Spanish Banks also has excellent speed, and if he hooks up with Discernment it could set up nicely for the late-running Blowin in the Wind.

Blowin in the Wind hasn't won since his first start of last year, but, along with his very good race in the B.C. Derby, he finished third in the Emerald Derby and banked over $93,000.