Updated on 09/17/2011 11:55AM

Americas Pride heavy pick


AUBURN, Wash. - Americas Pride will be a heavy choice versus five rivals in Thursday's top race at Emerald Downs, a five-furlong sprint for 2-year-old fillies eligible to be claimed for $16,000.

Americas Pride, an Oregon-bred daughter of Baquero who races for breeder Dave Duke, showed little in her two-furlong debut, but closed well for second and third in her next two outings at 4 1/2 and five furlongs. Those efforts did little to prepare fans for her graduation run against $16,000 maidens on June 21, when she went straight to the front and won by nearly four lengths, going five furlongs in 57.80 seconds, the second-fastest clocking by a 2-year-old at the meet.

Americas Pride's maiden win was flattered last weekend, when second-place finisher Amanda Lynn returned to defeat maiden special weight foes on Saturday and third-place finisher Winning Weave came back and ran second for a $16,000 tag on Sunday.

Trainer Linda Northam has named Hector Ventura to ride Americas Pride at 117 pounds.

All five of Americas Pride's challengers are coming off maiden victories, with Jewelette, Steal the Gold, and Fast Stitch Gal scoring at the $8,000 level, Aknightinbrooklyn winning for $12,500, and Shirley Patch graduating for a $16,000 tag at two furlongs.

Aknightinbrooklyn, from the barn of Rick Terry, was visually impressive winning her debut on May 29, finishing strongly after a tardy beginning and going the 4 1/2 furlongs in 53.20. She has been idle since, awaiting Thursday's first race at the meeting for juvenile winners, but she worked a smart half-mile on July 5.