Updated on 09/16/2011 8:42AM

'Handsome' isn't easy to catch


AUBURN, Wash. - An evenly matched field of seven older routers will test the skills of handicappers in Friday's featured eighth race at Emerald Downs, a 1 1/16-mile event for horses eligible to be claimed for $25,000 or $20,000.

If it isn't easy to say which horse is the one to beat, it can at least be surmised that Handsome Will Do is the one to catch. Handsome Will Do, a 4-year-old son of Slewdledo from the barn of Dave Forster, has established a clear early lead in eight of his last 10 races and faces minimal pace opposition on Friday.

After posting three wire-to-wire wins last year at 3, Handsome Will Do showed the way before settling for third in his 6 1/2-furlong seasonal bow on May 12, then came back on May 26 to lead every step but the last in a mile race for $25,000 claimers on May 26.

It was Play Well T C who nipped Handsome Will Do in 1:35.80, and he will return to face him again on Friday. Play Well T C, a Dan Markle-trained 5-year-old with six career wins, was favored to repeat under the same conditions on June 8, but raced wide and finished an even third, beaten over four lengths by Game Ticket in 1:36.

Game Ticket is one of two last-out winners in Friday's field. The other, Caller Pete, will be stepping up from the $16,000 level after posting an impressive 4 1/4-length win on June 9, when he sped a mile in 1:34.80. Caller Pete, a 6-year-old son of Caller I. D. who will be looking for his ninth career win, was claimed out of that race by leading trainer Tim McCanna, who has named leading rider Kevin Radke to ride at 117 pounds.

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