07/11/2007 11:00PM

Brisk work says Sabertooth's old but able


AUBURN, Wash. - Sabertooth will make his 9-year-old debut in Saturday's Emerald Downs feature, a 6 1/2-furlong race under $32,000 starter allowance conditions with a field of 11.

Sabertooth, trained now by Blaine Wright, has won 8 of 28 starts while earning $318,723. He won the Grade 3 Longacres Mile in 2002, and in 2005 he set a world record for 6 1/2 furlongs in winning the FSN Handicap at Emerald Downs in 1:13.

Sabertooth was good enough a year ago, at age 8, to win 2 of 4 starts and run second to Starbird Road in the Chinook Pass Handicap. He doesn't appear to have lost much of his vaunted speed, as he drilled five furlongs in a sprightly 57 seconds in preparation for his comeback start. Nate Chaves will ride, as usual.

Sabertooth's sternest challenger might be Exclusive Eagle, a 4-year-old from the barn of trainer Craig Roberts. Exclusive Eagle won last year's Seattle Slew Handicap and ran third to Raise the Bluff and Zillah's Knight in last year's Emerald Derby. He has run twice this year, finishing a closing second to Izzacopy in a $32,000 optional claimer at six furlongs in his most recent try on June 9. Ricky Frazier will ride.

Last year's Emerald Derby runner-up, Zillah's Knight, also poses a threat after finishing a good second in a mile race for $32,000 claimers on July 1. Trainer Steve Koler has named J. C. Estrada to ride.