08/12/2002 11:00PM

Easy lead unlikely for speedster


AUBURN, Wash. - Just Outrageous appears to be the one to catch in Thursday's feature at Emerald Downs, a six-furlong race for $20,000 3-year-olds that has drawn a field of eight.

Just Outrageous, a Pennsylvania-bred son of Press Card who races for Frank and Phyllis Gaunt, is coming off a front-running score over $16,000 rivals on Aug. 1, when he blistered a half-mile in 44.20 seconds and hung on to score by a neck over the fast-finishing Predominator in 1:16.80 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

The move back to six furlongs figures to benefit Just Outrageous greatly. In his only other start at the distance, Just Outrageous won his debut over $16,000 maidens by four widening lengths in a sensational 1:08.80 on May 11.

He faltered in two subsequent starts against tougher company before winning on the drop last time out. Trainer Aubrey Villyard has tabbed Ricky Frazier to ride at 118 pounds.

Just Outrageous figures to be severely tested early, as several of his rivals on Thursday have keen speed. Game Cadillac and Easy Enough are coming off wire-to-wire maiden wins, and Diamond Ten led throughout to defeat $32,000 maidens in his next-to-last start on June 9, when he sped six furlongs in 1:09.40.

Diamond Ten, a half-brother to the outstanding racemare Tavy Blue, lost all chance when he broke awkwardly in his first start against winners on July 6, but has worked well in the interim for trainer Howard Belvoir.

If the front-runners exhaust themselves battling for the lead, look for I. M. Awonder to be a late factor.

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