07/03/2002 11:00PM

Emerald: Strong Credentials indeed

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AUBURN, Wash. - Strong Credentials, a 3-year-old stakes winner of three races from six starts against her own division, will take on older rivals for the first time in Saturday's one-mile allowance feature at Emerald Downs.

Strong Credentials, a Carson City filly who races for Jerre Paxton's Northwest Farms, won the six-furlong Angie C. Stakes for 2-year-old fillies here last season. She finished second to Lasting Code in her first two starts against stakes company at this meeting. After Paxton purchased Lasting Code privately, he decided to avoid running his star fillies against each other for as long as possible. Strong Credentials had therefore been temporarily relegated to the allowance ranks, where she won a 6 1/2-furlong race against 3-year-old fillies on May 26.

Saturday's feature will be Strong Credentials's first attempt to navigate two turns. Her sire is best known for throwing fast and precocious sprinters and she has the powerful build of a sprint specialist. But trainer Bob McMeans notes that her broodmare sire, Vice Regent, adds stamina to her pedigree and that she has shown an ability to relax and ration her energy.

Strong Credentials figures to be thoroughly tested by five foes, including Whatdidshesay, who is coming off a good fourth-place finish in the June 22 running of the one-mile King County Handicap for fillies and mares. Whatdidshesay broke from the disadvantageous 10 post and raced wide most of the way but was beaten only three lengths by Always a Dixie.

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