07/16/2003 11:00PM

Juveniles get first stakes test


AUBURN, Wash. - Sundance Circle and Harvard Avenue, each a winner over maiden special weight company in his only start, figure to attract most of the attention in Saturday's $35,000 Emerald Express Stakes, the meet's first stakes for 2-year-old males. Seven were entered in the six-furlong race.

Sundance Circle, a strapping son of Katowice who sold for $52,000 at last summer's Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association yearling sale, won by 2 1/2 lengths with 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.40 on June 8 and has continued to thrive, according to trainer Howard Belvoir.

"He is an especially good-looking colt, and he acts like a runner," he said. "This race will be a good test for him."

Harvard Avenue, a homebred son of You and I who races for Ron Crockett, won by more than six lengths on June 22, when he got 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05 on a muddy surface.

"He handled the muddy track really well, and that is what makes his performance hard to judge," trainer Tom Wenzel said. "I'm anxious to see what he can do on a fast surface."

Market Report could be the yardstick by which to measure Sundance Circle and Harvard Avenue, as he ran second to both of them while earning identical Beyer Figures of 50. Market Report was able to get much closer to Sundance Circle than to Harvard Avenue, though the track condition on the day that Harvard Avenue graduated casts doubt on the validity of the comparison.

The Emerald Express will be the ninth of 10 races on Saturday's card, which starts at 1 p.m.