07/26/2002 12:00AM

Mt. Rainier a meeting of veterans


AUBURN, Wash. - Crowning Meeting and Moonlight Meeting, both from the barn of trainer Sharon Ross, will share highweight honors of 120 pounds in Sunday's renewal of the $100,000 Mt. Rainier Breeders' Cup Handicap at Emerald Downs.

Though seven horses were entered in the nine-furlong stakes, they will be saddled by only four trainers. Trainer Jim Penney will send out Jade Green under 116 pounds and Sabertooth at 113 pounds, while David Doutrich will saddle Lucky Bluff (111) and Hoodoo Peak (109). Only the Doutrich entrants, who are both owned by Tice Ranch, will be coupled in the wagering.

Rounding out the field is Horatio, last year's Gottstein Futurity winner and the lone 3-year-old in the line-up. The Dave Forster-trained Horatio gets in under 110 pounds with rider Ben Russell, who will ride for the first time since injuring his back in a gate mishap here on June 29.

The 8-year-old Crowning Meeting and the 7-year-old Moonlight Meeting figure to contend for the favorite's role off their razor-sharp form. Crowning Meeting began his current campaign with a track record-equaling win in the six furlong Seattle Handicap and a track record-setting score the 6 1/2-furlong Fox Sports Net Handicap before dropping a close decision to another stablemate, Secret Launch, in the Budweiser Emerald Handicap at a mile on June 16.

Crowning Meeting then skipped the July 4 Independence Day Handicap, which Moonlight Meeting won by a half-length over Sabertooth in 1:41.40 for 1 1/16 miles.

Crowning Meeting and Moonlight Meeting, will meet for the first time in the Mt. Rainier.

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