05/22/2008 11:00PM

Local bows for Martinez and mount


AUBURN, Wash. - Lord Avalon and jockey Seth Martinez will both be making their Emerald Downs debuts Sunday, and the two will team up in the featured ninth race on a 10-race card. The feature is a six-furlong test for $40,000 optional claimers that has drawn a field of eight.

Martinez is coming off a banner meeting at Turf Paradise, where he earned leading rider honors with 143 wins from 733 mounts. Martinez was slated to begin riding here shortly after the Turf Paradise meet ended May 4, but his arrival was delayed when he suffered a foot injury during the final weekend of racing in Phoenix.

Martinez and Lord Avalon are well acquainted, as the rider booted Lord Avalon to two wins in as many starts at Turf Paradise. Lord Avalon, a 4-year-old son of Yonaguska from the barn of trainer Mike Chambers, won his debut against maiden $30,000 optional claiming company March 29. Coming back against first-level allowance foes April 22, Lord Avalon prevailed by two lengths in 1:15.60 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

Lord Avalon figures to be tested by Diligent Prospect, who scored on the same level as Sunday's race April 26. Diligent Prospect, a 6-year-old stakes winner trained by Charles Essex, defeated six rivals with 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.80 for his seventh win from 20 career starts.

Also dangerous is A Touch of Malice, who is coming off back-to-back wins over $25,000 claiming and allowance rivals at 5 1/2 furlongs.