05/01/2008 11:00PM

Chambers sends two in Seattle


AUBURN, Wash. - Trainer Mike Chambers will launch his assault on Emerald Downs on Sunday when he sends out Nationhood and Chhaya Dance to take on seven other older sprinters in the $50,000 Seattle Handicap at six furlongs.

Chambers, a Northwest native, has been among the hottest trainers in the country in 2008, winning with a phenomenal 48 percent of his starters (63 of 132) through Thursday. Chambers has been racing at Turf Paradise, where he is the second-leading trainer with 81 winners from 193 starters (42 percent) at a meeting that began in September and was scheduled to end Sunday.

Nationhood and Chhaya Dance will be the first starters for Chambers at the young Emerald Downs stand, but he figures to be a major player here in short order. The trainer was assigned 50 stalls, second only to Frank Lucarelli, who has 52.

Nationhood, a 6-year-old son of Cherokee Run, will share a highweight assignment of 120 pounds with Wasserman. Nationhood won all three of his starts here last season, and he has since won 2 of 5 starts, all in stakes, at Turf Paradise. Leading rider Ricky Frazier has the mount.

Chhaya Dance, a 4-year-old with two wins from six career starts, will be ridden by Gary Baze at 116 pounds. The Chambers trainees will not be coupled in the wagering owing to separate ownership.

Wasserman figures to vie with Nationhood for favoritism after winning a 5 1/2-furlong prep for the Seattle here on opening night. Last year Wasserman won the 6 1/2-furlong Governor's Handicap over this track before running a highly creditable third in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile. Wasserman, who is owned and trained by Howard Belvoir, will be ridden by his regular jockey, Jennifer Whitaker.

Nationhood and Wasserman are both off-the-pace types, and they should have ample speed to target in the Seattle. Expected to vie for the lead are Bound to Be M V P, Garbu's Tab, and Chickasaw Park, the winner of last year's Chinook Pass Handicap at Emerald.

Others in the field are Jamaica Bound, Random Memo, and Wild Cycle.

Random Memo and Wild Cycle are both owned by Frank Gaunt and will race as an entry. Random Memo, a 7-year-old, has won five races at Emerald, including the 2004 Tacoma Handicap at a mile. Wild Cycle, a 4-year-old, won the WTBA Lads Stakes in 2006 and the Tacoma last year.