05/20/2009 12:00AM

Nancy Perkins ready to go in '09 debut


AUBURN, Wash. - Eight talented fillies and mares were named to Friday's feature race at Emerald Downs, a $25,000 claimer for nonwinners of two races other than maiden, claiming or starter. The eight-race card begins at 6 p.m., and the feature will go as the seventh race.

The field for the 5 1/2-furlong dash includes three promising 3-year-olds, a couple of lightly- raced 4-year-olds, and a couple of hard-knocking older mares with a big edge in experience. One of those is Nancy Perkins, a 6-year-old who figures to attract a lot of support in the betting. Trained by veteran Bob Meeking, Nancy Perkins will be a making her first start of 2009 after a six-month freshening. She won three times in six starts at Emerald last summer, including a front-running victory against $25,000 claimers in June. Ricky Frazier, the leading rider at the current meeting, will ride Nancy Perkins on Friday.

One of the 3-year-olds, Shamus on Me, looks to be a top contender. After a successful winter campaign at Turf Paradise, where she won twice and finished second to sprint sensation Carlsbad in the Arizona Juvenile Fillies Stakes, Shamus on Me finished a close-up fourth in the $30,000 Inaugural Stakes last month at Emerald Downs. Trainer David Bennett has named Javier Matias to ride.

Rain Shadow, a 4-year-old who began her racing career with a smashing maiden victory last May, will try to get back on the winning track. Rain Shadow was sidelined for nearly a year following her third-place finish in the Federal Way Handicap last season, and she had a troubled trip in her 2009 debut when favored in a $25,000 claimer. The defending Emerald Downs riding champion, Seth Martinez, has the call for trainer Jim Penney.

The field also includes Oneknightledo, a two-time winner at Emerald last summer; Dawns a Breakin, who finished second at Friday's level in her 2009 debut; Triple Tee, a 4-year-old who is undefeated in two starts; Janjen, a late-running 5-year-old; and Known as Lu, a front-running 3-year-old who figures to challenge Shamus on Me in the early going.

Two stakes races are on tap at Emerald Downs during the holiday weekend - the $50,000 Federal Way Handicap for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday, and the $50,000 FSN Handicap for older horses on Memorial Day. After dark days Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday racing begins May 28 and continues through the balance of the 91-day meeting.