08/09/2006 11:00PM

Judicature finds a soft spot

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AUBURN, Wash. - Judicature will be an overwhelming favorite when she takes on four challengers in Saturday's $45,000 Knights Choice Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs.

A daughter of Tribunal trained by Bill Tollett, Judicature comes off a 2 3/4-length score over the best juvenile fillies on the grounds in the $47,000 Angie C. Stakes on July 16. She sped six furlongs in 1:09.60 under Leslie Mawing.

The Knights Choice is a far more restricted event, being limited to the progeny of stallions who were nominated for the Northwest Stallion Series in 2003. Some 38 stallions were nominated in 2003, which was the year Saturday's contestants were conceived.

Tollett said Judicature has continued to thrive since her Angie C. performance, in which she earned a 76 Beyer.

"Things have gone very smoothly for her," said Tollett. "I gave her a couple of easy half-mile workouts just to maintain her condition, and I think she is ready to go. I'm looking for another good race from her."

Judicature figures to get her sternest challenge from Irene's Bonus Baby, who looks like the main speed in Saturday's field. Irene's Bonus Baby ran a distant second to Marianne Rose when she made her debut against $40,000 maidens on July 8. She returned July 28 and wired $40,000 maidens by 4 1/4 lengths, finishing five furlongs in 57.60 seconds.

Harwood will also saddle The Cahill Special, who in her only start scored a three-quarter-length win against maiden $20,000 company on July 21. She finished five furlongs in 58.20. Harwood's two runners will not be coupled.

Sparkling Tapestry also won her only start, defeating $12,500 maidens by 4 1/4 lengths in 58.20 for five furlongs on June 23. A daughter of Basket Weave who is trained by Steve Bullock, Sparkling Tapestry has logged three solid workouts in preparation for Saturday's assignment.

The final entrant, Deep Bay, is a daughter of Free at Last who will be making her debut. She is trained by Howard Belvoir.

Deep Bay is a half-sister to Tusko T., who won last year's Emerald Express Stakes for 2-year-old males for Belvoir and owner and breeder Al Benton, who also bred and owns Deep Bay.