06/29/2006 11:00PM

Invading pair take aim at Tacoma


AUBURN, Wash. - Hastings Park-based trainer Janet Armstrong will attempt to win her second straight Emerald Downs stakes on Sunday when she sends out Outrageous Limit to challenge 10 local 3-year-olds in the $65,000 Tacoma Handicap at a mile.

Armstrong and owner Sid Belzberg, who campaigns under the banner of Budget Stable, won last Sunday's Irish Day Handicap with the undefeated 3-year-old filly Sophie's Trophy. Outrageous Limit, a Kentucky-bred son of Tiznow, gives the trainer and owner a big chance for back-to-back stakes wins.

Belzberg claimed Outrageous Limit for $75,000 out of his one-mile maiden win at Santa Anita on April 21. Sent to Armstrong's barn at Hastings, Outrageous Limit made his first start for his new connections in the Jim Coleman Province at 1 1/16 miles on June 4 and finished second to Halo Steven. Halo Steven flattered Outrageous Limit's performance by returning to win the $125,000 Alberta Derby at Stampede Park on June 17. Kevin Radke has been engaged to ride Outrageous Limit at 116 pounds.

Another expensive claim, Keagan, will carry a 121-pound highweight assignment in the Tacoma. Keagan, a Washington-bred son of Basket Weave, was claimed by trainer Bill Tollett for $80,000 at Hollywood Park on May 17. He arrived in Tollett's Emerald Downs barn shortly after he was claimed and has logged four solid workouts over the local surface.

Prior to his race at Hollywood, in which he finished fourth while trying the turf for the first time, Keagan registered three stakes wins at Turf Paradise. Tollett has named Leslie Mawing to ride.

While both Outrageous Limit and Keagan will be making their Emerald Downs debuts on Sunday, second-highweight Raise the Bluff has made all seven of his starts at Emerald. Raise the Bluff, a son of Pine Bluff trained by Junior Coffey, finished a close second to Schoolin You in both the WTBA Lads and the Gottstein Futurity here as a 2-year-old. This year, Raise the Bluff has won both of his starts: a 5 1/2-furlong allowance test on opening day and the 6 1/2-furlong Pepsi-Cola Handicap on June 4, his first stakes score. Raise the Bluff will carry 120 pounds, including regular rider Nate Chaves.

Also dangerous is Courting Seattle, who won the six-furlong Auburn Stakes before finishing third to Raise the Bluff in the Pepsi-Cola. Courting Seattle appears to be the clear speed of the Tacoma field and poses a threat to lead throughout.