07/26/2001 11:00PM

Class trip for owner of Something Classy

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AUBURN, Wash. - Ray Staudacher has owned Thoroughbreds for about 25 years, and he estimates that he has campaigned between 30 and 40 horses during that span.

Staudacher, 72, a retired school teacher and counselor, has won his share of races and has thoroughly enjoyed his relationships with both horses and horsemen, but there is one aspect of the sport he has never experienced. Because he has always owned claiming runners, he has never had the thrill of watching one of his horses compete for the money and prestige associated with stakes racing.

Until now, that is. On Aug. 4, Staudacher's Something Classy will compete in the $75,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper Stakes at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. The 6 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares who have started for a claiming price of $12,500 or less during the past year is one of six races worth a total of $550,000 that make up the Claiming Crown, which is designed as a kind of Breeders' Cup for claiming horses.

"The idea has really caught on," said Staudacher. "This year there were 354 nominations for the six races, and 90 horses were pre-entered. Our race had 18 pre-entered and 14 will run. Something Classy is fourth on the list of qualifiers, so there won't be a problem with her getting to run."

Trainer Joe Toye claimed Something Classy for Staudacher last November at Turf Paradise for $10,000.

"She won that race by almost 10 lengths, so we knew we had made a good claim," said Staudacher. "Right after the race Joe suggested we nominate her to the Claiming Crown, and I did that just in case she turned out to be that good."

Since she was claimed by her current connections, Something Classy, a 5-year-old daughter of Something Lucky, has won five of eight starts and more than $43,000, including victories at the $32,000 and optional $40,000 claiming levels in her last two starts at Emerald Downs.

"She is the best horse I have ever owned, and this is the biggest pot I have ever raced for," said Staudacher. "It is a big deal for us, and we're really looking forward to it."

Eternally youthful Kid

Kid Katabatic, who runs in Sunday's 1 1/16 mile, $100,000 Mt. Rainier Breeders' Cup Handicap, is now 8 years old. That makes sense when you recall that he won the Grade 3 Longacres Mile as a 4-year-old in 1997, but it doesn't seem right when you look at him or watch him perform.

"It's hard even for me to believe he is that old," said part-owner and trainer Shauna Ferguson. "He doesn't look like an 8-year-old, and he certainly doesn't behave like one. He is just as hard to deal with as he ever was.

"I think it really depends on the individual horse and how he has been raced. Kid has never been overused, and he has never had a serious injury. As a result, I really can't see that his ability has diminished. I think of John's Call, who won two Grade 1 stakes at age 9, and I'm hopeful that Kid can still produce his best effort."

Kid Katabatic has won 14 of 32 career starts, including five stakes wins at Emerald Downs, for $541,688 in earnings. If he wins Sunday, he will become the first horse to win stakes at Emerald Downs in five consecutive seasons.

* Catalogs are now available for the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders' Association's annual Summer Yearling Sale, which will be held Tuesday, Sept. 4, at the Morris J. Alhadeff Sales Pavilion on the grounds of Emerald Downs. A total of 216 yearlings are scheduled to go through the sales ring, beginning at 1 p.m.