09/05/2002 11:00PM

'Paula' deserves better break

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AUBURN, Wash. - Latter Day Paula's current run of bad luck began in last year's Belle Roberts Handicap, the nine-furlong, $60,000 stakes for fillies and mares that will be renewed on Sunday.

"She broke a little slowly from the rail post that day and ended up having to check most of the way around the first turn," trainer Terry Gillihan said. "She got shuffled all the way back to last, but then she circled the field and got up for second. It was a race we thought she might have won with a little better racing luck."

It has been more of the same in five starts this season for Latter Day Paula, a strapping Marquetry mare who races for Ron Crockett. She has broken slowly, raced wide, and run afoul of traffic, often enduring all three kinds of trouble in the same race.

"Probably the cleanest trip she has had this year was in her last start," said Gillihan, referring to the mile Emerald Breeders' Cup Distaff on Longacres Mile Day, Aug. 25. "She got pushed pretty wide on the second turn, but at least she was in the clear. Her main problem that day was that everything was winning on the lead, and she was trying to close from well back. They ran the half-mile in 46 seconds that day, and she came back and worked a half in 46 last Monday, so I don't really think she had to be that far behind."

Latter Day Paula broke from the far outside in a field of nine in the Distaff, and in her three previous starts she broke from posts 8, 10, and 8.

Gillihan said he hopes she will draw better in Sunday's Belle Roberts, and that hope seems certain to be realized. Only eight horses were nominated, and just five or six will run.

"A small field will really help her, and so will the 1 1/8-mile distance," said Gillihan. "We know she can go that far, and the longer run to the first turn should help her to stay out of trouble.

"She really hasn't run that bad this year. The most she has been beaten is about five lengths, and she has had lots of excuses. She is training really well now, so she ought to run a good race. Ben Russell will ride her, and Benny was up when she won the King County Handicap last year, which was her last win.

"The only good thing about her not winning this year is that she will get in light at 113 pounds, and Benny can do that weight. So she'll get a weight break, a smaller field and more distance. All things considered, she should have a good chance to win. All she really needs is a little luck."

Crossing state lines

The optimism generated by Tuesday's WTBA Summer Yearling Sale, which saw the average price for 144 yearlings go up 2 percent to $17,172, may be tempered a bit by the unusual number of sales to out-of-state residents. The percentage of yearlings going out of state in recent years has hovered at about 35 percent, but this year it jumped to 46.5 percent when 67 yearlings went to buyers with out-of-state addresses.

The trend was more pronounced at the top of the market; only nine of the 25 yearlings who sold for $30,000 or more were purchased by Washington buyers. The parade of yearlings leaving the state was led by the sale's two biggest stars, the Siphon colt who sold for $120,000 and the Smart Strike filly who went for $100,000. Both were purchased by a Kentucky bloodstock agency on behalf of Stanley Fulton, the owner of Sunland Racetrack and Casino in New Mexico.

The trend is good for the sale and its consignors, who benefit from selling to a wider market. It may even be good for the reputation of Washington-breds, as many local products will have the opportunity to strut their stuff in other, often larger, arenas. From a fan's point of view, however, it would be nice to see a larger percentage of the cream of the state's foal production racing at Emerald Downs in coming years.

* Trainer Bud Klokstad said Flying Notes came out of his near-world-record performance in last Monday's Emerald Downs Derby in apple pie order, but will probably not race again for six or seven weeks. Klokstad said he will look for a race for his stable star at Bay Meadows or Oak Tree.

* Trainer Dave Forster said last season's horse of the meeting at Emerald, Makors Mark, will resurface at Chicago's Arlington Park, where he will send five or six horses with his son and assistant, Grant Forster.

* Jack Root said the unraced Mr. Prospector stallion Prospected will launch his stud career at Root's Oakhurst Farm in Oregon in 2003. Prospected, a $1.25 million sales yearling, is out of Heraklia, by Irish River.

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