06/09/2009 11:00PM

Mirror Pond in fine form at Emerald

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AUBURN, Wash. - Mirror Pond and Nancy Perkins are the horses to beat Friday in the feature race at Emerald Downs, a $15,000 claimer for fillies and mares at one mile. The feature is the seventh race on an eight-race program that begins at 6 p.m.

Mirror Pond rallied to win a $17,500 claimer going 6 1/2 furlongs in her most recent start. A sharp horse that day, Mirror Pond posted a 74 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest last-race number in Friday's field.

Stretching out to a mile for her third start of 2009 on Friday, Mirror Pond could be hard to hold off in the stretch. She finished third after setting the pace in her most recent mile race, a $40,000 starter allowance at Golden Gate Fields last November. Jockey Juan Gutierrez, who was up for her last victory, has the call again Friday on Mirror Pond, who is trained by Diane Garrison.

Nancy Perkins is the likely pace-setter. A three-time winner at Emerald Downs last summer - including twice at one mile - she returned from a seven-month layoff to run fifth in a $25,000 claiming sprint May 22. That race could set her up nicely for Friday's feature.

Trainer Bob Meeking has enlisted Ricky Frazier to ride Nancy Perkins. Frazier was up for her final race of 2008, when she rallied from just off the pace to win a one-mile $15,000 starter allowance in 1:36.60.

A contested pace could set things up for Libby Creek, a late-running 5-year-old trained by Howard Belvoir. Libby Creek finished second, a head behind Nancy Perkins, last September in her final race of the year, and has finished fourth or better in her past four one-mile efforts on dirt. After three sprint races to begin the current meeting, Libby Creek will try two turns for the first time Friday. She'll break from the rail under jockey Jennifer Whitaker.

Sun City should help ensure a fast pace. A 5-year-old trained by Joe Toye, Sun City has hit the board in 19 of 24 starts over the past two years. She won three races at Turf Paradise over the winter, including two going a mile on turf. Debbie Hoonan-Trujillo is scheduled to ride.

The rest of the field includes My Sweet Louise, who is stepping up a couple of class levels after a four-length victory against $5,000 claimers; Nina Win, a five-time winner in 2008; and Sunshine Shelli, who returned to the races in May after a 20-month absence.