07/04/2003 11:00PM

Mountaineer: Speed horses dominate

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Slop lovers Ashwood CC and Image of Approval benefited when their respective races were moved from turf to a muddy main track at Mountaineer Park.

Thistledown shipper Ashwood CC ($6.80) wired a field of seven fillies and mares in the $77,700 Firecracker Handicap for her 13th career victory in 35 lifetime starts.

Image of Approval ($13.20), fresh from a seven-length romp in the slop, built a four-length lead heading into the stretch and withstood a late surge by 2-1 favorite Eagle Time to prevail by three-quarters of a length in the $77,900 Independence Day Handicap.