08/07/2001 11:00PM

Droppers meet again


AUBURN, Wash. - Seven 3-year-old $12,500 claimers will do battle in Friday's six-furlong feature at Emerald Downs.

Alnaab the Gold and Pazhalsta are logical contenders, as they finished second and fourth, respectively, while racing for a slightly higher tag on June 20. The sharp sprinter High Tailing won that race in a quick 1:10.60 for six furlongs, but Alnaab the Gold closed to be beaten less than a length and Pazhalsta held fourth, beaten just over two lengths after pressing the pace throughout.

Double Time and Charlie Haan also merit consideration off the company they have been keeping, as both geldings drop from the $25,000 claiming level. Double Time showed the way for a half-mile in his local debut, a 6 1/2-furlong race on July 15. Before that he showed speed to better in four tries last winter at Turf Paradise. Charlie Haan faltered to finish last of eight when stretched out to a mile on July 29, but he ran a highly creditable third against $25,000 company at six furlongs in his yearly debut on July 3.

Also intriguing is Handsome Son, who is coming off a three-length maiden win over $12,500 foes on July 22. Though he will be meeting winners for the first time on Friday, most of his rivals have only a maiden win. Handsome Son was competitive with more expensive maidens before winning in the 10th start of his career and seems capable of surprising if he runs back to his best race.

Weaver and Will E Rule appear to be the longshots in the field, as Weaver hasn't been better than sixth in five starts at the meeting, while Will E Rule is stepping up after running an even fourth against $8,000 company in his first try against winners on July 26.

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