08/04/2005 12:00AM

Potential star takes aim at older


AUBURN, Wash. - Budding 3-year-old star The Great Face takes on nine older foes in Saturday's Emerald Downs feature, a six-furlong test to be run under $25,000 optional claiming conditions.

The Great Face, a son of Cahill Road from the barn of trainer Tom Wenzel, will be making his first start against older rivals after three strong efforts against his peers. The Great Face won his six-furlong debut against maiden special weight company by more than six lengths here on June 16, then came back to miss by only a head to Another Bob in the 5 1/2-furlong Stars and Stripes overnight handicap on July 4. He finished third to Pure as Gold as the 4-5 favorite in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance event in his last outing on July 15, but it should be noted that he raced on a deep and tiring rail path that day.

The Great Face, a front-runner, figures to be tested early by recent maiden winners Polo Bender and Ashby Hill, and by On the Ave, who will be making his first start for a claiming price, and Tamper, who will be making his seasonal debut.

Should he survive that onslaught, he will have to stave off the late runs of closers Natural Touch, Best Game in Town, and Call Columbo.

Bartus Christian and Ob'sbaby B figure to be stalking the speed brigade while racing well ahead of the closers, and should benefit from favorable trips.