09/07/2006 12:00AM

'Clyde' tries to go a mile in feature


AUBURN, Wash. - Westsideclyde will stretch out to a mile for the first time on Saturday when he heads a compact field of five older runners in the best race at Emerald Downs, which will be run under $40,000 optional claiming conditions.

Westsideclyde, a 4-year-old son of Old Topper from the barn of trainer Craig Roberts, has been among the sharpest performers at the current meeting. He has won four of five outings and is coming off a pair of spectacular efforts. Westsideclyde defeated $25,000 optional claimers with six furlongs in 1:08 on July 23, then came back to down $40,000 optional claimers with six furlongs in 1:08.20 on Aug. 5. In both of those efforts, which earned Beyers of 96 and 99, respectively, Westsideclyde seemed to toy with a pace rival before drawing off through the stretch to win by daylight margins.

Though he has not raced in over a month, Westsideclyde has registered two fast interim drills. Kevin Krigger will take over the mount.

Westsideclyde figures to get his sternest challenge from Grafton, who is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile. Grafton, a 6-year-old who was claimed by trainer Bill Tollett for $50,000 at Del Mar in June, was making his first start on dirt in the Mile after 24 tries on turf. Grafton outfinished seven rivals while losing only to Flamethrowintexan, Papi Chullo, and Southern Africa.