06/09/2009 12:00AM

Morgan's Money has the class edge


AUBURN, Wash. - Morgan's Money and Hired Hand figure to attract most of the wagering interest Thursday in the feature race at Emerald Downs. A six-furlong dash for horses who have started for a claiming price of $7,500 or less in 2008-09, the feature will go as the seventh race on an eight-race program that begins at 6 p.m.

The conditions seem perfectly suited to Morgan's Money, who beat a field of $25,000 claimers in his most recent start May 22. Trained by Robbie Baze, Morgan's Money has run three sharp races at the current meeting, and he has never been worse than third in four career starts at six furlongs.

Morgan's Money won a $5,000 maiden claimer last April and then trounced $7,500 winners in his next start. He hasn't raced for less than a $12,500 claiming price since and appears to have a significant class advantage in Thursday's race. Regular rider Gallyn Mitchell has the call.

Hired Hand, a lightly raced 5-year-old trained by Sam Tilden, looms the top danger to Morgan's Money in the field of six. Hired Hand won three races in a six-week span at Emerald Downs last summer and finished a close second to Wasserman in the $50,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic at 1 1/16 miles in September. He has worked steadily for his 2009 debut. Troy Stillwell is scheduled to ride.

Devilish Fact has won two races at the current meeting and could be a factor Thursday. An 8-year-old gelding trained by Rigoberto Velasquez, Devilish Fact has won eight races and more than $100,000 during his 44-race career. He recorded a Beyer Speed Figure of 72 when he beat a field of $7,500 claimers in his most recent start. Morgan's Money recorded a Beyer Figure of 69 in his most recent victory.

The rest of the field includes Ore Brain, who's been first or second 11 times in 23 starts at Emerald Downs; Buckshot West, a front-runner who finished fourth for $10,000 in his most recent outing; and Fatmanstew, a likely longshot who was soundly beaten by $5,000 claimers in his last race.

* Racing continues through the weekend and culminates Sunday with the one-mile, $50,000 Irish Day Handicap for 3-year-old fillies. Ladyledue, who is undefeated in four career starts, all stakes races, will attempt to carry her speed around two turns for the first time.