06/11/2003 11:00PM

'Buckshot' in career form


AUBURN, Wash. - Do's Buckshot heads a field of six in Saturday's best race at Emerald Downs, a $50,000 optional claiming race for older horses at a mile.

Do's Buckshot, a 5-year-old son of Casa Dante, was claimed by owners Tim and Sue Spooner out of his career debut at Emerald for $8,000 in May of 2001, but spent the next 13 months recovering from a hip fracture suffered in the race.

Returning last year for trainer Dan Markle, Do's Buckshot won twice at the $12,500 level at Emerald, then contested four allowance events in northern California, posting two seconds, a third and a fourth while meeting the likes of multiple stakes winners Bluesthestandard and Presidio Heights.

Do's Buckshot continued to display sharp form in his first start at this meeting, running second to Easy Enough in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance on June 1. He was nominated for Sunday's $75,000 Budweiser Emerald Handicap, but Markle elected to run him in Saturday's feature instead.

"He has come a long way since we got him, but I'm not quite ready to throw him in against the stakes horses," said Markle. "I'm hoping he can win an allowance race first. He looked like a terrible claim when we bought him, but he has really come to the party over the last year. We're kind of curious to see how good he can get."

Do's Buckshot figures to get his sternest challenges from Colony Lane and Prodigious, who ran second and fourth when racing 6 1/2 furlongs May 17, and from stakes winner Jade Green, who is coming off a solid 4 1/2-length win over $20,000 claimers.