09/18/2003 11:00PM

A big payday for Washington-breds


AUBURN, Wash. - Emerald Downs will inaugurate Washington Cup Day on Sunday with a 10-race program offering $440,000 in purses, making it the richest day in the track's history.

Washington-breds will be showcased in nine of Sunday's races, including seven stakes. Two starter allowance races for Washington-breds are also on the card, along with the $120,000 Joe Gottstein Futurity, which is open to all 2-year-olds eligible for the Northwest Race Series. A total of 95 horses will compete on the card.

The purse for the Gottstein, which will match a field of 10 at 1 1/16 miles, was swelled by two supplemental entries. The connections of Count Orange and Random Memo paid $10,000 each for the right to run.

Count Orange, a gelded son of Count the Time who races for David Reising and Jeff Stoddard, is coming off a sensational win over maiden special weight company on Aug. 10, when he drew off to score by five lengths in 1:10 for six furlongs. That effort earned an 82 Beyer Speed Figure, easily tops in the field. Count Orange recently moved to the barn of trainer Grant Forster, who drilled him five furlongs in 59.80 seconds last Sunday.

Count Orange was previously trained by Aubrey Villyard, who was naturally sorry to lose the budding star. Villyard was not left without a Gottstein contender, however, as he trains Random Memo, who races for Frank and Phyllis Gaunt.

Random Memo collected his maiden win by nearly 12 lengths over $25,000 company in his second start, then came back to post a hard-earned nose decision over Harvard Avenue in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race on Aug. 31. Wheeled back in the one-mile WTBA Lads Stakes on Aug. 30, Random Memo finished a close third to Harvard Avenue and Sundance Circle, who was injured in the race after pressing the early pace.

"I thought he ran very well for his first route, especially because he had to keep Sundance Circle honest on the front end," Villyard said. "I think it was the kind of effort he can build on."

Harvard Avenue figures to be favored off his score in the Lads, which he won by a length in 1:36.20, the fastest mile clocking ever registered by a 2-year-old at Emerald Downs. Harvard Avenue, a homebred son of You and I who races for Ron Crockett, posted an impressive maiden win and a pair of seconds to Sundance Circle and Random Memo before earning black type.