09/04/2010 1:34PM

Clear to Canada takes on elders in optional claimer

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AUBURN, Wash. – With Washington Cup Day and its six stakes less than a week away, there’s no added-money event on the holiday program Monday at Emerald Downs, though there’s some star power in the co-featured eighth and ninth races. The 10-race card begins at 2 p.m. Pacific.

The eighth race, a first-level $32,000 optional claimer for older horses at 1 1/16 miles, attracted a field of seven, with a 3-year-old, Clear to Canada, among the leading contenders. Though he has just one career victory, Clear to Canada served notice with a fifth-place finish in the $75,000 Emerald Derby in his last start Aug. 15. The only 3-year-old in the race, the late-running Clear to Canada will be ridden by Inoel Beato for trainer Mike Puhich.

Puhich also will saddle Exclusive Eagle, a hard-knocking 7-year-old who finished fifth in his last start, 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner, in a one-mile, $50,000 optional claimer. Exclusive Eagle will be reunited with jockey Gallyn Mitchell, who was up when Exclusive Eagle finished third in the restricted Muckleshoot Tribal Classic last September.

Emancipated, a two-time winner this summer, figures to set the pace after chasing some fast sprinters in his last two starts. The Robbie Baze trainee has been first or second in 4 of 8 starts at Monday’s distance. Juan Gutierrez will ride.

One Quick Brew, Air Pegasus, Dress Code, and Medicine Creek complete the field.

Tiger’s Mistress is the horse to beat in the ninth race, a six-furlong allowance for 2-year-old fillies that have never won twice. After a runner-up finish in her debut July 2, she returned two weeks later to score an impressive maiden victory, running 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.40. She’ll be ridden by Tony Gutierrez for Tim McCanna, who is closing in on his 10th Emerald Downs training title.

Ms Moscow Mattie and Class Included are the other top contenders in a field that also includes recent maiden winners Debbie’s Ferrari, Zolazane, and Renaissance Queen.

Ms Moscow Mattie defeated Tiger’s Mistress in the July 2 race before finishing a distant last in the Angie C Stakes in her second start for trainer Vann Belvoir. She’ll be ridden by Beato, and Gutierrez has the assignment on Class Included, a Jim Penney-trained runner who finished a sharp second behind the speedy Kids Cooler in her only start Aug. 14.

After a three-day break, racing will resume Friday, when fans will receive free general admission.