07/04/2006 11:00PM

Gentle Flow drops in to win

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AUBURN, Wash. - Gentle Flow will drop for action when racing resumes at Emerald Downs on Friday, as she heads a field of six fillies and mares in the six-furlong feature for $15,000 to $12,500 claimers.

Gentle Flow, a 4-year-old daughter of Gentlemen from the barn of trainer Jim Penney, won her Emerald Downs debut against $40,000 optional claimers almost a year ago. Since then, however, she has only a third in last year's Washington Oaks to show for six starts. She has gone unplaced in two outings against $25,000 optional claimers at the current stand, and that simply isn't tolerated in the Penney barn, which is winning at a 30 percent clip here. She will therefore drop sharply after posting a smart half-mile drill in 48 on Sunday, and the class relief should lead to an improved performance. Ben Russell retains the mount.

Gentle Flow might get her sternest opposition from Es Muy Stormy and Zairsaplan, who finished a head apart when racing 6 1/2 furlongs for the same $15,000 tag on June 18. Es Muy Stormy got up for the score that day, improving her career record to 5 wins from 33 starts. Es Muy Stormy, who is trained by Bill Tollett, has finished in the exacta in half of her 14 tries at six furlongs, so Friday's cutback in distance shouldn't prove a detriment. Leslie Mawing rides.

Zairsaplan, who is trained by Frank Lucarelli, is also adept at the six-furlong distance.