06/21/2006 11:00PM

'George' a deserving highweight


AUBURN, Wash. - Every fan who attends the races at Emerald Downs on Saturday will start out as a winner, as the track will hand out $10 vouchers to all who pay the $4 general admission charge.

The promotion is part of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Emerald Downs, which opened on June 20, 1996. The voucher giveaway will last until post time for the second race, with a limit of one voucher per patron.

Saturday's headliner is a $10,000 starter handicap named for Joe Withee, who has served as the director of broadcast publicity at Emerald since the track's inception. The race has drawn a field of seven older horses to compete for an enhanced purse of $12,700 at 1 1/16 miles.

The deserving highweight is Alcres George, who will shoulder 122 pounds. Alcres George, a 5-year-old son of Lake George, was claimed by trainer Joe Toye for owner Richard Antie for $8,000 at Turf Paradise on Feb. 6. He posted 4 wins from 6 subsequent starts in Phoenix, including a score in the $50,000 Hasta La Vista Handicap at 1 7/8 miles on May 21. The Hasta La Vista and two of Alcres George's other recent win came on turf, but he also has 3 wins from 23 tries on dirt.

Alcres George may get his sternest opposition from Horatio, a 7-year-old stakes winner who captured last season's two-mile event in Emerald's marathon series. He opened his current campaign with a win over $20,000 claimers at 1 1/16 miles on June 1.