07/21/2011 2:37PM

Emerald Downs: Camp Granada steps up after maiden romp

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AUBURN, Wash. – Camp Granada, an eye-catching maiden winner in his last start, will get tested for class Saturday in the feature race at Emerald Downs. In addition to making his first start against winners, the speedy 3-year-old will face older horses while traveling around two turns for the first time in his burgeoning career. If he overcomes those many obstacles, Camp Granada could go directly into the stakes ranks – the Emerald Derby is just three weeks away.

Trainer Frank Lucarelli has named Leslie Mawing to ride Camp Granada in Saturday’s race, a first-level allowance with a $25,000 optional claiming price at one mile. Only five horses were entered, and one of those, Hennessy God, is an impossible longshot. But the other three challengers are legitimate, and Camp Granada, who posted an 83 Beyer Speed Figure in his sizzling maiden victory July 8, will have to be at his best to claim the winner’s share of the $18,600 purse.

Bred and owned by Ron Crockett, president of Emerald Downs, Camp Granada is from the Staff Writer mare Pleas Write, a multiple stakes winner at route distances. Camp Granada’s half-sister, Rewritten, won a 1 1/16-mile stakes race at Emerald last summer, and Camp Granada’s sire, Forest Camp, has sired a slew of stakes winners at distances both short and long. In his maiden victory, a 7 3/4-length score in 1:08.83 for six furlongs, Camp Granada gave every indication he would relish more ground.

Camp Granada will break from the inside post position, with leading challenger Seven Torrents to his immediate right. Seven Torrents, 4, has six lifetime victories and a huge experience advantage over Camp Granada. What’s more, Seven Torrents is a known commodity at the distance, winning three of his four starts at one mile. In his most recent route attempt, on June 12, he led throughout to defeat next-out winner Wasserman by 2 1/2 lengths. Seven Torrents got a career-best 80 Beyer for that effort. Regular rider Juan Gutierrez will be aboard Saturday for trainer Jim Penney.

Aaron the Baron, a lightly raced 4-year-old, also could make his presence felt. He finished fourth behind sprint sensation Hollywood Harbor on July 4 in his first start following a two-month layoff. He has worked twice since then, including a best-of-the-morning five furlongs on July 14, and could be formidable if he takes to the distance. He’ll be ridden by Gallyn Mitchell for trainer Doris Harwood.

Rounding out the field are Zagreus, a late-running sprinter who’s owned by Crockett but is trained by Tom Wenzel, and Hennessy God, who won a $5,000 maiden claimer in his last start.