04/28/2005 11:00PM

One Special Hoss ready off works

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AUBURN, Wash. - There was a time when trainer Ed Thompson and owner Bindy Sangara were frequent visitors to Emerald Downs. Back in 1996, the track's inaugural season, Thompson and Sangara brought Name for Norm from their Hastings Park base to run in four juvenile stakes, and he won them all en route to being named Emerald's first horse of the meeting.

Name for Norm returned four more times in 1997 and came away with two more stakes wins and a stakes placing, and his connections also brought the 3-year-old filly Precious Peace here to win the Kent Handicap and place in two other stakes.

Since then, Thompson and Sangara have rarely been seen at Emerald, but that will change on Sunday when they send out One Special Hoss in the six-furlong Auburn Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings.

"It will be like old times," said Thompson from his barn at Hastings Park. "I remember we used to play some old Englebert Humperdink song when we got to within a few miles of the track. I might have to find that tape. It was pretty good luck for us."

One Special Hoss, a California-bred son of Danjur, was purchased for $8,200 at the 2003 WTBA winter sale, which is the same sale from which Thompson and Sangara purchased Name for Norm for $7,200 back in 1995. One Special Hoss won 3 of 5 starts last year at 2, winning his debut in maiden special weight company at Hastings in August, the 6 1/2-furlong Birdcatcher Stakes at Northlands Park in September, and a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Hastings in October.

"We had to take him to Northlands because all the local races at that time were for B.C.-bred," said Thompson. "He got squeezed back at the start and I thought he was done, but he came running at the end. He showed us a lot that day, and we started getting excited about him. He didn't do quite as well going long, but he is 2 for 2 in sprints, and that might be his best game."

One Special Hoss has not raced since finishing fourth in last season's 1 1/16-mile Ascot Graduation at Hastings in November, but Thompson said he feels he is ready for a representative showing.

"He's as ready as I can get him without a race," Thompson said. "His last two five-furlong works were really strong, so we're hoping for the best."

Trainer Jim Fergason nominated three for the Auburn - which he won last year with Crimson Design - and he plans to run two, Typhoon Aaron and J D's Date. Tomorrow's Turn will not run, but served a purpose when he was beaten only a neck by Auburn contender Beau Maggie in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance race here on opening day, April 15.

"That race told me that Typhoon Aaron and J D's Date will fit here, because I think they are both a little better than Tomorrow's Turn," Fergason said. "Beau Maggie looks like the tough horse, at least among the locals, so I feel pretty good about my chances."

Typhoon Aaron won his first four starts at the recently concluded Portland Meadows meeting, twice beating Tomorrow's Turn. After taking two months off, he returned in the 1 1/8-mile Oregon Derby and held on gamely to finish second to J D's Date despite dueling with American Poet through a suicidal first quarter-mile in 22.40 seconds.

"I thought he ran a heck of a race that day, especially considering that American Poet was eased after running the same fractions," Fergason said. "He came out of that race really good, and he should be tough with the return to sprinting."

J D's Date enjoyed his best success going long at Portland Meadows, winning both the 1 1/16-mile Preview Stakes and the 1 1/8-mile Oregon Derby, but he got his maiden win at five furlongs and is a half-brother to last year's Auburn winner.

"He's not as quick as Crimson Design, but he's not a bad sprinter and his style is a good fit with Typhoon Aaron's style," Fergason said. "I'll have one on the lead and one coming from behind, so I should have a shot no matter what the pace is like."

Trainer Bud Klokstad will also send out two in the Auburn, his pair - Beau Maggie and Sky Harbor - running as an entry because both have the same owner, Art McFadden. Both prepped in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance on opening day, with Beau Maggie getting up to win by a neck over Tomorrow's Turn and Sky Harbor finishing fourth.

"Sky Harbor got stopped in the stretch, though, and I'm not sure he wouldn't have won with a clean trip," Klokstad said. "It sure looked like he was going to be right there."

Despite his horses' strong preps, Klokstad said he feels both of them have something to prove in the Auburn.

"I'm not sure either of them is really a stakes horse at this point, but I'm going to give them a chance to show they are," he said. "Sky Harbor is a small horse, and he probably doesn't want to go much beyond six furlongs, so this might be his best chance. Beau Maggie is a good-looking horse, and he might be better going long."