07/16/2002 11:00PM

Faithful Gal invades

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AUBURN, Wash. - Faithful Gal on Friday tries to repeat her successful invasion of last year in the first leg of the Harley H. Hoppe and Associates Marathon Championship Series at Emerald Downs.

This is the first of three races for 3-year-olds and up who are eligible for a $10,000 starter allowance. Seven will compete for a purse of $12,000 over 1 1/8 miles.

The series will continue with a 1 1/4-mile leg on Aug. 2 and conclude with a 1 1/2-mile leg Aug. 17.

Last year, Faithful Gal shipped in from Hastings Park and defeated males in the 12-furlong leg of the marathon series. Faithful Gal, a 5-year-old daughter of Son of Briartic, did not finish in the money in three sprint preps this year at Hastings, but she becomes more effective with distance and gets in light under apprentice Jocelyne Kenny at 106 pounds.

Faithful Gal arrived at Emerald on Wednesday in the company of Lady's Jewel, who will contest Sunday's Boeing Handicap, and she breezed a half-mile in 49.60 seconds for trainer Andrew Collins.

The probable favorite in Friday's headliner is Whistler Run, five-length winner over $6,250 starter allowance company on July 6, when he got 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.40. A 7-year-old son of Stop the Music, Whistler Run won at the $12,500 level here last year and seems a nice fit under the starter allowance conditions. Hector Ventura retains the call from trainer Dave Forster at 118 pounds.

The trainer of the horse who accumulates the most points and competes in all three races of the series will receive a $1,000 bonus.

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