05/11/2004 11:00PM

Mr. Makah in spot to repeat


AUBURN, Wash. - Mr. Makah will be seeking to repeat when he heads a field of eight older Washington-bred sprinters in Friday's Emerald Downs feature, a six-furlong test to be run under $25,000 optional claiming conditions.

Mr. Makah, a 4-year-old full brother to Washington Cup Classic winner Colony Lane, ran a smasher in his seasonal debut when he downed open $32,000 optional claimers with 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02 on April 25. He is dropping into what should be a slightly softer spot on Friday and figures to be difficult to deny if he can avoid regressing in his second start back from a lengthy layoff. Trainer Bonnie Jenne has again named Scott Saito to ride Mr. Makah, who will break from post 3.

Among Mr. Makah's most formidable challengers is Moonlight Storm, a winner of five races from 13 starts. Moonlight Storm was claimed by trainer Frank Lucarelli for owners Ron Maus and Bob Wagner out of his latest win, a front-running score over $25,000 company here on April 18. He ran back under optional $25,000 conditions on April 30, but rushed up to contest the pace after breaking slowly and tired to finish fifth behind Slewicide Cruise, who won that 5 1/2-furlong test in 1:02.60. A better beginning from post 7 may be all Moonlight Storm needs to regain his winning form.

Also dangerous is Badger K. Eli, who won last season's Chinook Pass Handicap at six furlongs. Badger K. Eli, a 5-year-old from the barn of trainer Larry Wolf, finished seventh behind Mr. Makah in his seasonal debut, but he showed good speed before tiring late and may have needed a tightener.