07/25/2008 12:00AM

Firetrail looks best in prep race


AUBURN, Wash. - Emerald Downs will present its first stakes doubleheader of the year on Sunday's Mile Preview Day program.

Six older fillies and mares be will auditioning for the Aug. 17 running of $100,000 Emerald Distaff in Sunday's race 8, the $50,000 Boeing Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.

One race earlier, eight Longacres Mile hopefuls will run in the $75,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap at 1 1/8 miles. The Mt. Rainier is the last local prep for the Aug. 17 renewal of the Gradeo3, $300,000 Mile, which has Breeders' Cup Win and You're In status for the first time this year. The winner of the Mile gets a reserved spot in the gate for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Firetrail looms as the one to beat in the Boeing off her authoritative score in the July 4 King County Handicap at a mile. Firetrail, a 4-year-old daughter of Defensive Play trained by Junior Coffey, won the King County in 1:36.80 by four lengths over Shampoo, with Eclatante a neck farther back in third. It was the second straight score for Firetrail, who won last year's John and Kitty Fletcher Stakes at a mile.

"She came up to her last race perfect, and she probably ran as well as she can run that day," said Coffey. "If she can run that race again, I'll be happy."

Shampoo and Eclatante will be back facing Firetrail again, along with Beaulena, Pretty Maid, and She's All Silk.

The Mount Rainier offers a rematch between Wasserman and Chhaya Dance, who finished a head and a neck apart in their last two meetings. Wasserman got the better of his rival both times, winning the 6o1/2-furlong FSN Handicap in 1:14.20 and the 6 1/2-furlong Governor's Handicap in 1:14. Wasserman, a 6-year-old son of Cahill Road who races for trainer Howard Belvoir, is something of a 6 1/2-furlong specialist, however. He is winless in 17 tries at a mile or more, although he did finish third in last year's Mile.

Chhaya Dance, a 4-year-old son of A.P. Indy trained by Mike Chambers, was third in blanket finishes in both the FSN and the Governor's, and he was second, beaten a neck by stablemate Nationhood, in the six-furlong Seattle Handicap in May. In his only two-turn try, Chhaya Dance finished second in a one-mile turf allowance race at Turf Paradise last October.