08/24/2004 12:00AM

Millenium Nugget one to beat


AUBURN, Wash. - Millenium Nugget is the one to beat in Thursday's best race at Emerald Downs, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds eligible to be claimed for $20,000.

Millenium Nugget, a stakes winner here at 2, just missed against $25,000 claimers in his last out on Aug. 12. He came from fourth and looked like a winner until he was nailed by Naaba Trip on the wire in 1:16.20 for 6 1/2 furlongs. That was Millenium Nugget's first race for trainer Tom Wenzel and owner Remmah Racing Inc., who claimed him out of a winning six-furlong effort against $20,000 claimers in 1:10 on July 25. The quick return to his winning level could be the key for Millenium Nugget.

Two others in Thursday's feature are coming off sharp wins. Lovefromafar, a son of Distant View from the barn of trainer Tim McCanna, graduated against $16,000 maidens in his last start on Aug. 8, when he drew off to win by three lengths, running six furlongs in 1:09.40. Lovefromafar had tried a mile in his two previous starts, but he seems best when sprinting.

Distinctly Perfect won in $15,000 company in his last start on July 31, getting 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.60. With that victory, Distinctly Perfect avenged a loss to Olly Blast in his previous start.

Olly Blast returns for a rubber match with Distinctly Perfect. Fairly Honest and Hezamanontherun round out the field of six.