04/27/2005 11:00PM

McCanna sends Diamond View

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AUBURN, Wash. - Diamond View will head a field of nine older sprinters, each eligible to be claimed for $22,500 to $25,000, who will contest Saturday's Emerald Downs feature at six furlongs.

Diamond View, a 5-year-old son of Diamond Sword, rates top billing off a strong second to similar company in his 2005 debut on April 16. Going 5 1/2 furlongs, Diamond View contested a pace through a fast half-mile in 44.40 seconds before yielding late to deep closer Best Game in Town, who prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:03. Diamond View was claimed out of that race by trainer Tim McCanna, the track's all-time leader, on behalf of his brother, Ray McCanna, and will be making his first start for those connections.

Diamond View faces a stern challenge from Natural Touch, who finished just a neck behind him in the April 16 race despite breaking about two lengths behind the field. Natural Touch, a 4-year-old from the barn of trainer Bud Klokstad, figures to benefit from the additional sixteenth on Saturday, but his record of just one win and nine placings from 16 career outings will give bettors cause to pause before backing him on top.

The case for Natural Touch will be bolstered by his entrymate, Jumpingjupiter, who also hails from Klokstad's barn. Jumpingjupiter, a 5-year-old with six career wins, raced well without winning in six starts last winter at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate. He should appreciate the return to Emerald Downs, where he has won five of his 15 starts.