08/29/2003 11:00PM

Condotierri may get some help


AUBURN, Wash. - Hastings Park kingpin Roscoe Pito will invade Emerald Downs to take on five locally based 3-year-olds in Monday's $125,000 Emerald Breeders' Cup Derby at 1 1/8 miles.

Roscoe Pito, a B. C.-bred son of Light of Mine from the barn of John Snow, is coming off back-to-back stakes wins at 1 1/16 miles at Hastings, and has not finished worse than third in six career starts, all this year. Regular rider Sam Krasner retains the mount.

Despite his credentials, Roscoe Pito's presence might actually boost the chances of Condotierri because he adds pace contention to the derby. Trainer Craig Roberts had feared that the late-running Condotierri would again be at the mercy of fractions dictated by Knightsbridge Road, who showed the way in last month's Seattle Slew Handicap before dropping a tight decision to Stratoplan, who stalked the pace throughout.

With Roscoe Pito expected to be on the pace on Monday, Condotierri should have a legitimate pace to target, and he will be difficult to deny under that scenario. Condotierri, a long-striding son of Candy Stripes, won last year's Gottstein Futurity at

1 1/16 miles and regained his best form in winning the 1 1/16-mile Tacoma Handicap by nearly six lengths in July. Caught behind a dawdling pace in the Seattle Slew, he could only get up for third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Stratoplan and Knightsbridge Road.

Too Fast to Top, Weepinbell, and Run Max Run, all unplaced in the Seattle Slew, complete the derby field.