08/06/2001 11:00PM

Handy N Bold romps as Edneator falters


AUBURN, Wash. - Sunday's 6 1/2-furlong Governor's Handicap at Emerald Downs was billed as a titanic battle between perennial sprint champion Handy N Bold and Edneator, last year's Longacres Mile winner and horse of the meeting, and for a memorable half-mile it was just that.

With Handy N Bold on the outside and Edneator on the rail, the two handicap stars hooked up at the start and fought tooth and nail through a sizzling half in 43.80 seconds, at which point Edneator, in his initial start of the year, gave way. Handy N Bold went on to score a five-length victory over April Surprise, while Edneator faded to fifth and last.

"Something wasn't right with him," reported Edneator's regular rider, Gallyn Mitchell. "He came back sound, and I don't want to speculate, but something happened out there."

It was an unprecedented third straight Governor's Handicap win for Handy N Bold, who tied Ropersandwranglers for the most stakes wins at Emerald with nine. A 6-year-old son of Bold Laddie, he also moved into third place in Emerald's all-time earnings list with $236,343 from 10 wins in 19 starts. Handy N Bold, who was claimed for $25,000 out of his 2-year-old debut by owner Doris Orr, has won three of four starts for $79,500 in earnings this year, including the $33,000 he earned on Sunday, and his connections feel he has done enough.

"We're going to turn him out now," reported trainer Charlie Essex. "We'll bring him back in the spring and hope to do the same thing with him next season."

Makors Mark local hero in Mile

With Handy N Bold passing on the Aug. 19 running of the Grade 3 Longacres Mile and Edneator a doubtful participant after his showing on Sunday, it appears as though Makors Mark, the winner of the Budweiser-Emerald Handicap and the Mt. Rainier Breeders' Cup Handicap at the current meet, plus Crowning Meeting and Kittys Link, the respective runners-up in those two events, will be the chief local hopes in the $250,000 event.

The locals are expected to be challenged by Canadian star Mike K and a presumably powerful, but as yet unknown, contingent from California. Some 17 California-based runners were on the list of nominees released Monday, including four from the barn of Bob Baffert. Baffert nominated Captain Steve, El Corredor, So Urgent, and Spicy Stuff. Also on the list were the Richard Mandella-trained Out of Mind, the John Shirreffs-trained Performing Magic, the Ron McAnally-trained Smile Again, and the Jenine Sahadi-trained Spinelessjellyfish.

Radke starts hot, hustles home Devil's Enemy

Jockey Kevin Radke made a terrific impression in his first week of riding at Emerald Downs, winning with eight of his 26 mounts. The highlight for the 29-year-old rider, who arrived in time for Friday's card from Ohio's Thistledown Park, was a victory aboard Devil's Enemy in Saturday's $36,000 colt-and-gelding division of the Northwest Stallion Stakes for 2-year-olds.

Under aggressive handling from Radke, Devil's Enemy went to the front before going a quarter-mile in 22 seconds and maintained a length advantage through 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:18.20 to prevail over Kenny Hawk. Slew of the Night, the 3-1 favorite in the field of 11, finished three-quarters of a length farther back in third.

"We've always been high on this horse, but he broke slowly in his last couple of starts, and he used himself up rushing to the lead," said Tim McCanna, who trains Devil's Enemy, a Devil on Ice colt, for owner Bill Feely. "Kevin got him out of there a lot better, then he kept him going down the lane. He's a real strong rider."

Filly standouts leaving town

The 2-year-old filly division at Emerald lost its two brightest stars last week when Strong Credentials shipped out and Strikes No Spares was sold.

Strong Credentials, a Carson City filly who won both of her Emerald starts for owner Jerre Paxton's Northwest Farms and trainer Bob McMeans, was sent to Arlington Park along with Paxton's stakes-winning 4-year-old filly Taste the Passion.

Strikes No Spares, who finished a close second to Strong Credentials in the Angie C. Stakes after winning her debut for owners Jack and Ivor Jones, was sold privately through Kentucky-based bloodstock agent Tim McMurry. Trainer Dave Forster said he did not know who the Smart Strike filly's new owner was, but that he understood she would be raced in the eastern United States.