08/18/2008 11:00PM

Cocktail Chatter in right spot

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AUBURN, Wash. – After a weekend of stakes-studded racing, Emerald Downs will shift gears abruptly on Thursday with an eight-race card headed by a field of seven 3-year-old fillies, each a nonwinner of two races eligible to be claimed for $7,500, going 5 1/2 furlongs.

Cocktail Chatter figures as the one to beat after winning her debut by 3 1/2 lengths over $5,000 maidens on Aug. 1. Bet down to 4-5, Cocktail Chatter led throughout six furlongs in 1:12.80 and was claimed by trainer Vince Gibson for owner William Fawthrop. Cocktail Chatter, who is by Jumron, is a full sister to three winners, including the stakes-placed One Special Browny, and could prove a very useful purchase. She will be ridden by apprentice Matt Hagerty at 114 pounds.

Cocktail Chatter figures to be challenged early by Candy Topping, trained by Doris Harwood. Though still a maiden after three starts, Candy Topping has shown keen early speed in all of her races. She held second in her second career outing against $7,500 maidens in May, then was off until Aug. 7, when she showed the way for $7,500 maidens before fading to fifth when in need of a race. Leslie Mawing will ride at 117.

A speed duel between Cocktail Chatter and Candy Topping could set things up for Jeweled Case, who is coming off a closing second-place finish against open $7,500 claimers on Aug. 9. Jeweled Case has finished fourth, third and second in three starts against winners.