08/29/2006 11:00PM

Gold Lad, 'Storm' set for rematch

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AUBURN, Wash. - Gold Lad and Storm in Session, who were separated by only a neck when racing under identical conditions on Aug. 12, will be rematched in Friday's one-mile feature at Emerald Downs. The race has drawn a competitive field of six older horses, all eligible to be claimed for $18,000 to $20,000.

Gold Lad, a 5-year-old from the barn of trainer Tim McCanna, stalked the pace from close range in the Aug. 12 race before being outfinished by Wally Ballou, who prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:37.40. That Gold Lad had enough speed to remain close to a moderate pace could be significant, because Friday's field appears to be entirely lacking in speed. Though Gold Lad has never had the lead before the third call in any of his 25 races, he may well be able to dictate the fractions on Friday.

Storm in Session, a 6-year-old trained by Aubrey Villyard, was actually a front-running router earlier in his career, but he has employed closing tactics in his more recent races. He came from seventh position to finish just a neck behind Gold Lad when they met Aug. 12, and he came from fifth and third to post mile wins over $10,000 and $15,000 company earlier at this meeting. He has speed in reserve, however, and rider Juan Gutierrez may opt to use it.

Jumrunner, 4, could be the chief beneficiary of a pace battle. Trained by George Colello Sr., Jumrunner came from far back to defeat $25,000 rivals at 1 1/16 miles before being overmatched against $40,000 optional claimers on Aug. 20.