05/07/2008 12:00AM

Courting Seattle in for tag


AUBURN, Wash. - Courting Seattle will drop out of the stakes and allowance ranks on Friday to head a field of seven in the Emerald Downs feature, a six-furlong sprint for $25,000 claimers.

Courting Seattle, a 5-year-old from the barn of trainer Howard Belvoir, will be racing for a claiming tag for the first time in his career. He won 2 of 3 starts at 2 here in 2005 and began his 3-year-old campaign with a victory in the six-furlong Auburn Handicap, but he has since endured 15 straight losses. Courting Seattle has placed in four stakes during that span, but he began his current campaign with a fifth-place finish in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance.

Belvoir apparently felt Courting Seattle needed easier company, and he will get that on Friday, when he carries 120 pounds and will be ridden by Jennifer Whitaker.

Courting Seattle might get his sternest test from Ore Brain, who is capable of huge efforts on occasion. Ore Brain, a 5-year-old trained by Sharon Ross, has made most of his 14 career starts in midlevel claiming races. Nonetheless, he was fast enough to win two six-furlong races in 1:08.40 and 1:08 last year. Ore Brain will be making his first start of the season.

Fort Yates won three straight last year as a 3-year-old for trainer Pat Mullens. Fort Yates began his current campaign with a sixth-place finish to Diligent Prospect in a $40,000 optional claimer on April 26 and is another who will be dropping in class.