05/02/2002 12:00AM

'Enemy' vs. Salt Grinder in Auburn


AUBURN, Wash. - Divisional leadership will be up for grabs on Saturday, when the local 3-year-olds get their first taste of stakes action in the $35,000 Auburn Stakes at six furlongs.

Devil's Enemy is the one to beat in the Auburn. A speedy son of Devil on Ice, he won 4 of 6 outings last season, including a pair of sprint stakes at Emerald Downs. For his final start as a 2-year-old, Devil's Enemy shipped to Yellowstone Downs in Montana, where he made short work of five challengers in a $16,000 stakes at seven furlongs, winning by better than three lengths as the 1-20 favorite. Devil's Enemy will be making his yearly debut on Saturday after posting a string of fast workouts for trainer Tim McCanna.

Devil's Enemy will be challenged by Kenny Hawk, who captured last season's Captain Condo Stakes at Emerald, and Melcapwalker, who proved best in the Emerald Express Stakes in 2002.

Set to make his stakes debut is Salt Grinder, who shattered the track and state records when he sped 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:01.40 to defeat allowance rivals in his seasonal bow here on April 20. Salt Grinder, a Salt Lake gelding who races for Homestretch Farm, won his lone start last year and may well be favored off his unblemished record and his phenomenal clocking in his prep for the Auburn.

The Auburn will take a back seat to another race for 3-year-olds, however, as Emerald will offer simulcast wagering on the 128th Kentucky Derby, the centerpiece of a stellar card from Churchill Downs.

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