06/22/2006 11:00PM

Local heroine faces a trio of invaders


AUBURN, Wash. - Diamond Dollars will shoot for her fourth straight win when she takes on nine challengers, including a trio of Canadians, in Sunday's $40,000 Irish Day Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at a mile.

Diamond Dollars, a daughter of Stravinsky from the barn of trainer Bill Tollett, has taken Emerald Downs by storm since being claimed for a mere $12,500 at Sunland Park in April. Diamond Dollars reeled off easy wins in a $25,000 maiden event and in the 6 1/2-furlong Federal Way Handicap before defeating allowance rivals at a mile in her last start on June 10. She will be coming back in 15 days on Sunday, but she worked a smart half-mile in 47.80 on Wednesday and appears to be coming into the Irish Day in apple pie order. Regular rider Gallyn Mitchell again has the mount at 120 pounds.

Diamond Dollars's presence has not deterred the Canadian invaders, however. Sophie's Trophy, Langara Lass, and No Ka Oi have all made the trip south to test the local star.

Sophie's Trophy might even challenge Diamond Dollars for favoritism, as she is undefeated and untested through two starts. Sophie's Trophy, a daughter of Valid Wager who is trained by Janet Armstrong, defeated maiden special weight company by 3 1/2 lengths in April before winning last month's Langley Handicap by 2 3/4 lengths. Both of those races were at 6 1/2 furlongs, and she will be making her route debut under Kevin Krigger at 118 pounds on Sunday.

Langara Lass finished a distant fourth behind Sophie's Trophy in the Langley, but trainer Dave Forster noted that she exited that race with mucus in her throat. Langara Lass, who is by Langfuhr, won 3 of 5 starts last season, including the 1 1/16-mile Fantasy Stakes, en route to being named British Columbia's top juvenile filly. Ricky Frazier will take over the mount at 117 pounds.

No Ka Oi will be making her second start at Emerald Downs after finishing third to Diamond Dollars in the June 10 allowance race at a mile. No Ka Oi, who is trained by Robert Gilker, was beaten 3 1/4 lengths in that race, but she was making only her second start of the year and her first start since April 22. Last year No Ka Oi posted two wins, including a nose victory in the $106,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity at 6 1/2 furlongs. Jennifer Whitaker will ride at 116 pounds.