06/15/2001 12:00AM

Crafty Boy primed for big race


AUBURN, Wash. - Crafty Boy will seek an overdue stakes victory on Sunday when he meets nine other handicap stars in the one-mile, $75,000 Budweiser Emerald Handicap at Emerald Downs.

Crafty Boy, a 6-year-old son of Let's Go Blue who races for Sandra Williams, ran second to Kid Katabatic in last season's Budweiser Emerald, then was second again to Bold Words in the Mt. Rainier Breeders' Cup Handicap before running third to Edneator and Big Ten in the prestigious Longacres Mile. The Bill Beamer-trained runner is still looking for his first win in an added-money event, but may be favored Sunday off his fast-finishing third to Handy N Bold and Shake Loose in the 6 1/2-furlong Fox Sports Net Handicap on May 20, his seasonal debut.

"I was very pleased with the way he settled and finished that day, and he has been doing well since then," said Beamer said. "I think I've got him tight enough to go a mile. He worked six furlongs last week, but ran off a mile, and I clocked him in 1:38.80. That told me he's ready."

Sprint champion Handy N Bold will sit out the Budweiser Emerald, but Crafty Boy faces formidable challengers in Fox Sports Net runner-up Shake Loose, former champion 3-year-old Makors Mark, and Crowning Meeting, who won a pair of rich stakes last fall in northern California and boasts career earnings of over $423,000.

The Budweiser Emerald will go as the ninth of 10 live races. Free baseball caps with the Emerald Downs logo will be handed out to all paid admissions. First post is 1 p.m.