07/18/2002 12:00AM

McMeans has pair for Paragon

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AUBURN, Wash. - Lasting Code, who narrowly edged Premo Copy and Ashbecca in last month's Irish Day Handicap at 1 1/16 miles, will take on the same tough rivals at the same distance in Saturday's $40,000 Paragon Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at Emerald Downs.

This time, however, Lasting Code may have help in the form of entrymate Strong Credentials. Bob McMeans trains both fillies for Jerre Paxton's Northwest Farms, but he has kept them apart since Paxton purchased Lasting Code in a private transaction after her 4 1/4-length victory in the 6 1/2-furlong Federal Way Handicap in May. Lasting Code failed to fire, finishing eighth and last in her first start for her new connections, the one-mile Kent Handicap, but she came back to score a hard-earned victory after pressing the pace in the Irish Day Handicap.

Meanwhile, Strong Credentials, who finished second to Lasting Code in her first two starts this season, has been competing in the allowance ranks. Strong Credentials defeated 3-year-old fillies going 6 1/2 furlongs on May 26, then came back to run third to older rivals in her first try at a mile on July 6.

McMeans named Kevin Radke aboard both his entrants, suggesting one may be scratched. He has the option to name a different rider on either filly and run both, however.

The entry will face seven challengers, including Premo Copy and Ashbecca. Premo Copy was beaten only a nose by Lasting Code while making her stakes debut in the Irish Day, while Ashbecca finished only a head behind after coming from more than 15 lengths back.

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