07/31/2001 11:00PM

Lots in favor of 'Plenty'

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AUBURN, Wash. - Plenty Awesome may rate a slight edge over nine other 3-year-olds in Thursday's six-furlong feature at Emerald Downs, a $16,000 claiming affair for runners who have never won two races.

Several factors point Plenty Awesome out for a big effort on Thursday. An In Excess gelding, he will be making the third start of his current form cycle, he will be dropping after a pair of creditable fourths against $25,000 company, and he will be switching to jockey Gary Baze. The move to Baze is significant, because the rider and trainer Roy Lumm have proven to be a formidable combination at this meeting. While Lumm has 12 wins from 92 starters at the meet for a 13 percent success rate, his winning clip goes up to 20.5 percent (7 for 33) when Baze is named to ride.

A final point in Plenty Awesome's favor is that he figures to enjoy a better trip on Thursday than he had in his last outing on July 15, when he broke slowly, was shuffled back near the half-mile pole, raced wide around the turn and was bothered entering the stretch before checking in fourth.

Plenty Awesome's prime rivals include Washington Moon and British Assault, who ran one-two in a $10,000 claiming race at six furlongs on July 19, and Joe Holiday, who will be shortening up after posting a good third against $16,000 foes at a mile on July 14.

Before his mile try, Joe Holiday, a Washington-bred son of Phoenician, posted a second-place finish and a win against $8,000 maiden claimers and a pair of thirds against $16,000 winners, all at sprint distances. A consistent gelding, he will have Javier Mattias in the irons at 118 pounds, the weight to be carried by all 10 starters.