07/26/2006 12:00AM

City Sprint enjoys clear class edge


AUBURN, Wash. - City Sprint looks like the one to beat in Friday's Emerald Downs feature, a 1 1/16-mile race for $25,000 claimers.

City Sprint, who has raced most of his career in Canada, won his Emerald debut at the same 1 1/16-mile distance, overcoming a slow pace to defeat $25,000 optional claiming company by a half-length in 1:43. He stepped up to take on $32,000 optional claimers at a mile in his last start on July 14, finishing fourth while trying to close into an even slower pace.

City Sprint, a 4-year-old son of Carson City, is stepping down significantly to meet nonwinners of two races on Friday, and should prove tough if he has a legitimate pace to target. Trainer Grant Forster has again given the call to Ricky Frazier. All horses will carry 124 pounds.

Those who like City Sprint will probably like Soccer Dan as well because he finished only a length behind City Sprint in his first start at the meet on July 14. Soccer Dan, who ran third in last year's Seattle Slew Handicap for 3-year-olds, probably needed that race and should move forward. Nevertheless, Soccer Dan has no speed and is vulnerable to a slow pace, which is a distinct possibility. Ben Russell has accepted the mount from trainer Mark Rheinford.

A Maximum Buzz is stepping up sharply after winning for a $12,500 claiming price on July 15, but is dangerous because he is the only apparent front-runner in the feature.