07/12/2006 12:00AM

'Frederick' heads first leg of series

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AUBURN, Wash. - Lord Frederick will head a field of eight distance specialists when the Seattle's Best Joe Memorial Marathon Series gets under way at Emerald Downs on Friday.

Friday's initial leg of the three-race series, which is conducted under $10,000 starter allowance conditions, will be run at 1 1/8 miles. The second leg will go at 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 4, and the finale will go at 1 1/2 miles on Aug. 27. Each of the races will carry a purse of $12,000, and the trainer of the horse who earns the most points in the series will receive a $1,000 bonus.

Lord Frederick, a 4-year-old son of Dance Floor trained by Bill Smith, rates top billing after winning his last two starts in impressive fashion. Lord Frederick beat $7,500 starter allowance company at a mile by 3 1/2 lengths on June 11, then came back on June 24 to defeat $10,000 starter handicap runners by 1 1/4 lengths at 1 1/16 miles. While he has never before attempted nine furlongs, Lord Frederick has given every indication that he will relish the distance. Gallyn Mitchell retains the mount at 122 pounds.

Alcres George, who was second to Lord Frederick on June 24, may again offer the sternest challenge to the likely favorite. In his previous start, Alcres George won the $50,000 Hasta La Vista Handicap at 1 7/8 miles on turf at Turf Paradise. He seems certain to appreciate the additional sixteenth Friday, and should only get tougher as the distances lengthen.