09/25/2006 11:00PM

Best Game in Town drops down from stakes

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AUBURN, Wash. - Emerald Downs will launch the final week of racing at its 90-day stand on Thursday with an eight-race card headed by a competitive six-furlong sprint for older $20,000 claimers.

Best Game in Town, trained by Bonnie Jenne, will drop from the stakes ranks to take on six foes and may be favored off his presumed class edge. Best Game in Town, who won three times at last year's meet, will be looking for his first win in his seventh start at the current stand. He began the meet with three seconds and a third against optional $25,000 claiming company, then jumped to the stakes level to run seventh in the 6o1/2-furlong Governor's Handicap and fifth in the 1 1/16-mile Muckleshoot Tribal Classic. Best Game in Town should appreciate Thursday's drop in class, but it is worth noting that he is winless in eight prior tries at six furlongs.

The distance of the feature is not a concern for Gold Lad, who has won 4 of 9 tries at six furlongs. Gold Lad, trained by Tim McCanna, is coming off a pair of close seconds going a mile against $20,000 claimers and should be finishing strongly.

Both Best Game in Town and Gold Lad figure to come from well back, and they should have a fast pace to target with City Lights and Prize Weaver entered. Those two hooked up through a half-mile in 43.80 seconds in a six-furlong race for $20,000 claimers on Sept. 8, when Prize Weaver finished second and City Lights third to Idabetabuck in 1:08.80.

Adding interest is Height of Summer, who is working on a string of eight straight exacta finishes at minor tracks.