08/20/2010 1:03PM

Clair Annette going a bit longer


AUBURN, Wash. – There has been an unusual turn of events in the filly-and-mare division at Emerald Downs: As the distances get longer, Clair Annette’s odds get shorter. Having recorded stakes victories at a mile and 1 1/16 miles in her past two starts, she figures to be a short-priced favorite Sunday going nine furlongs in the $75,000 Emerald Distaff on the Longacres Mile undercard.

In many respects, Clair Annette is the female equivalent of Noosa Beach, one of the leading contenders in the Mile. Both were said to be suspect routers, until they started winning around two turns and forgot to stop. Clair Annette, a front-running 7-year-old by Beau Genius, had never even attempted a route until late in her 6-year-old season, when she captured the 1 1/16-mile Belle Roberts in her first start following a three-month layoff.

One of the fastest female sprinters in Emerald’s 15-year history, Clair Annette has lost her last three sprints while going 3-0 in routes. If she makes it four in a row Sunday, division honors will be a foregone conclusion. More important, she would earn $41,250 for owner Nina Egbert.

Clair Annette won the 1 1/16-mile Boeing Handicap in her last start three weeks ago. Trainer Connie Bouslaugh said she’s concerned about the extra sixteenth of a mile in the Distaff. She is also wary of a couple of new shooters who threaten to make this her toughest test to date.

Christmas Ship, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, won the 1 1/16-mile Luther Burbank Handicap on the turf at Santa Rosa on July 31. Summer Song, trained by Troy Taylor, has two stakes victories at Hastings this summer. Both horses do their best running from off the pace, leaving Clair Annette to have things her own way in the early stages, just as she did in the Boeing Handicap, and, before that, the one-mile King County Handicap on the Fourth of July.

Kevin Krigger, 2 for 2 on Clair Annette, has the riding assignment. Leslie Mawing, who steered Christmas Ship to her victory at Santa Rosa, has a return engagement for Hollendorfer. Mario Gutierrez, fourth in the standings at Hastings, will ride Summer Song.

Others in the nine-horse field are Barbara’s Love, third in the Boeing in her last start, Blue Sky Holiday, Gadget Queen, Rewritten, a 3-year-old who finished sixth in the Washington Oaks last weekend, Kimmyv, and improving 4-year-old Crocodile Tuff, who will be ridden by Russell Baze.