06/05/2007 12:00AM

Gold Lad looks set up by speed


AUBURN, Wash. - A surfeit of speed could play into the hands of Gold Lad in the Emerald Downs feature for Thursday, a six-furlong sprint for $20,000 claimers that has drawn a field of seven.

Gold Lad, a 6-year-old son of Gold Fever from the barn of trainer Tim McCanna, made his 2007 debut on April 27 under the same conditions and came from seventh to score by a half-length in 1:10. He came back for a $32,000 claiming price on May 19, but he could not cope with the slumming Salt Grinder and finished sixth. Salt Grinder, a multiple stakes winner, won that race by 7 1/4 lengths in a dazzling 1:07.60 for six furlongs. Gold Lad was beaten only 1 1/4 lengths for second. With no Salt Grinder and plenty of pace in Thursday's field, Gold Lad should be a late factor under leading rider Ricky Frazier.

Mazel Power, Ore Brain, Idabetabuck, and Price Weaver are all front-runners and can be expected to vie for the early lead. Mazel Power and Ore Brain are both coming off gate-to-wire wins over restricted $17,500 company, while Idabetabuck tired to finish sixth after showing the way against $25,000 company on May 26. Prize Weaver ran fourth after being denied the lead in his 2007 debut, in the April 27 race won by Gold Lad.

Knightsbridge Road is coming off a pair of seconds behind Positive Prize at the $15,000 claiming level. Now 7, Knightsbridge Road has 28 in-the-money finishes from 51 starts.