09/09/2004 11:00PM

Early speed gives 'Joe' the edge


AUBURN, Wash. - Joeronohmoe is the one to beat in Sunday's top offering at Emerald Downs, a six-furlong sprint for $16,000 fillies and mares that has drawn a field of eight.

The feature is curiously devoid of early speed, and that is where Joeronohmoe has an advantage over most of her rivals. Joeronohmoe, a 4-year-old daughter of Personable Joe trained by Mike Jones, scored three front-running wins last year. Her only win from five starts this season came when she prevailed by a half-length over $16,000 rivals after pressing the pace on July 15, when she covered 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.40. Joeronohmoe chased tougher in three subsequent starts, and could regain her best form with the return to her last winning level.

Bless My Soles finished second to Joeronohmoe in the July 15 race, which marked her fourth exacta finish in five starts at the meeting. Trainer Sharon Ross elected to freshen up Bless My Soles after that race. Bless My Soles posted three strong workouts in August and has a history of running well off the bench.

Zairsaplan is the only entrant coming off a recent win, having run down restricted $15,000 rivals in her last start on Sept. 4, when she got 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.40. Zairsaplan typically comes from far back, however, and she may be disadvantaged by a slow pace.

Vodka Martini is coming off back-to-back wins, the most recent of which came July 22 at 1 1/16 miles.