08/29/2008 11:00PM

Fear No Evil should be out front

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AUBURN, Wash. - Fear No Evil will attempt to nail down 3-year-old colt or gelding of the meeting honors when he takes on six challengers in Monday's $100,000 Emerald Downs Derby at nine furlongs.

Fear No Evil, a front-running son of Trust N Luck from the barn of trainer Frank Lucarelli, has won 3 of 5 starts at the stand, including gate-to-wire scores in the six-furlong Auburn Stakes and the 1 1/16-mile Seattle Slew Handicap in his last start, which came on Aug. 3. Fear No Evil again appears to be the most likely pacesetter on Monday, and he drew the rail post to complement his early foot. Regular rider Gary Baze will have the mount.

Fear No Evil's persistent rival Gallon may be the most formidable challenger. Gallon, a stakes winner here last season for trainer Jim Penney, won the one-mile Tacoma Handicap at this meeting and just missed to Fear No Evil in the Auburn and to Margo's Gift in the 6 1/2-furlong Pepsi Cola Handicap. He disappointed as the 6-5 favorite in the Seattle Slew, however, finishing two lengths behind Fear No Evil in fourth. Ricky Frazier will take over the mount on Gallon, a son of Belmont winner Victory Gallop who is bred to relish extended distances.

California invader Thiscatsgotcharm and Canadian shipper Savo Island add spice to the derby stew. The lightly raced Thiscatsgotcharm posted an impressive win over maiden special weight runners in his second start on June 6 at Golden Gate, getting six furlongs in 1:11 to prevail by more than four lengths. Jumped to the stakes level in a mile and 70-yard race at Pleasanton on June 29, Thiscatsgotcharm appeared to be on his way to an easy victory when he struck the rail inside the furlong marker and unseated rider Frank Alvarado. Trainer J.O. Jauregui said that both horse and rider escaped the incident without serious harm, and they will be reunited for the Emerald Downs Derby.

Savo Island, who placed in stakes at Hastings Park for trainer Robert Gilker, shipped here on Aug. 9 to test the local surface in a one-mile allowance and found it to his liking. Savo Island, a son of Honour and Glory, defeated Mutak Gold by a neck in 1:37.60 under Kevin Radke, who again has the mount.

Rounding out the field are local allowance winners Anotation, Sea Speaker, and Way Too Much.