07/01/2009 11:00PM

Gadget Queen at top of her game


AUBURN, Wash. - Gadget Queen tops a field of seven Saturday in the $50,000 King County Handicap, the feature race on Independence Day at Emerald Downs. With a victory in the one-mile King County, Gadget Queen would stamp herself as the leading contender for the season's marquee race for fillies and mares, the $100,000 Emerald Distaff on Aug. 16.

While she made her presence felt last summer at 4, winning the restricted Belle Roberts in her final start of the meeting, Gadget Queen has taken things up a notch in 2009, winning 2 of her 3 starts, including the Washington State Legislators Handicap in her most recent outing.

The late-running Flying With Eagles mare also captured a second-level allowance at Golden Gate Fields in January, but her most impressive effort came in the $75,000 Campanile Stakes in February, when she closed resolutely to finish second, a length behind graded-stakes winner Victorina. Gadget Queen earned a career-best 94 Beyer Speed Figures in the 1 1/16-mile Campanile, and followed it with a 92 in the 6 1/2-furlong Washington State Legislators. She seems to be sitting on another top effort Saturday.

"She's coming up to this in good shape," trainer Blaine Wright said after Gadget Queen drew post 6. "On paper, things look good, though it's a tough race. A lot of the fillies in there show their best races going a mile. I like the post we drew. We'll let Ricky [Frazier] read the Racing Form and adapt to whatever situation is in front of him."

The multiple-stakes-winning 4-year-olds Elusive Horizon and Enumclaw Girl drew posts 1 and 2. With the shortest path to the first turn, jockey Juan Gutierrez might push for the lead with Elusive Horizon, who led throughout in the nine-furlong Washington Oaks last August and is undefeated around two turns. Most recently third in the Washington State Legislators after pressing a hot pace, Elusive Horizon is rounding into peak form for trainer Doris Harwood, who has saddled 22 stakes winners at Emerald Downs since the start of the 2007 season.

Enumclaw Girl won the one-mile Irish Day Handicap last June for trainer Rosie Simkins. Unraced since May 17, Enumclaw Girl has trained forwardly, breezing five furlongs in 58.40 seconds in her final major tune-up last Sunday. Regular rider Gallyn Mitchell has the call.

Turf Paradise shipper Screaminleapofaith, the stakes winners Judicature and She's All Silk, and longshot Eclatante complete the field for the King County.