08/20/2008 11:00PM

Hired Hand seeks four wins in row

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AUBURN, Wash. - Razor-sharp Hired Hand will attempt to extend his winning streak to four in Saturday's top offering at Emerald Downs, a one-mile test for $25,000 starter allowance runners that has attracted a field of eight.

Hired Hand, a 4-year-old son of Rojo Warrior from the barn of trainer Mike Jones, began his win streak modestly with a victory over $7,500 nonwinners-of-two at 6 1/2 furlongs on June 29. He repeated on the $12,500 level when stretched out to a mile on July 17, drawing off to win by almost 10 lengths in 1:36.40.

In his most recent outing, on Aug. 10, Hired Hand took on $25,000 runners at a mile and led through fractions of 22.60 seconds, 45.80, and 1:10.60 before stopping the timer in 1:35.60 with a 2 1/2-length advantage. Leslie Mawing was up for all of those scores, and he again has the mount.

Hired Hand figures to be challenged early by the supercharged sprinter Chickasaw Park, who is coming off a front-running win over $32,000 claimers in 1:09 for six furlongs on July 19.

Chickasaw Park, a 6-year-old trained by Pat Mullens, won last year's Chinook Pass Sprint on Washington Cup Day in 1:07.60 for six furlongs after setting fractions of 21 seconds for a quarter and 43.40 for a half-mile. One would think a horse with that kind of speed could make the lead in any route race, but Chickasaw Park has never been closer than 1 1/2 lengths to the front at the first call of any of his six tries at a mile and has never finished better than fourth.