04/21/2009 11:00PM

Race flow favors two stalkers

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AUBURN, Wash. - A field of six is signed up for the feature race Friday night as Emerald Downs begins its second weekend of racing. The eight-race card begins at 6 p.m., and the feature - a 5 1/2-furlong, $25,000 claimer for older horses - will go as the seventh race.

Restricted to horses which have never won two races other than maiden, claiming, or starter, the feature could boil down to a two-horse duel in the final sixteenth between Morgan's Money and Toutlelew. Those two have combined for 9 victories in 37 career starts at Emerald Downs. Both horses are adept at stalking the pace, and that style could serve them well in a race that figures to go fast early.

Morgan's Money began 2008 as a maiden and ended it with 4 wins and 3 thirds in 11 starts. Now a 5-year-old, the Robert Baze-trained Morgan's Money rose from the $5,000 maiden claiming ranks to open $25,000 competition while establishing himself as a dangerous sprinter. Morgan's Money won 4 of 8 sprints and never was worse than third. Gallyn Mitchell, who rode Morgan's Money twice last summer, has the call Friday.

Toutlelew has a lot going for him. He won twice in seven starts at Emerald Downs last summer. A 6-year-old gelding, he has run well fresh, losing by a head after contesting the pace in his 2008 debut. Trainer Bonnie Jenne hit the board with each of her three starters last weekend and Toutlelew will be ridden by red-hot apprentice Cassie Papineau, who was in the money with 10 of her 15 mounts during the first three days of racing.

To capture the winner's share of the $15,100 purse, Morgan's Money or Toutlelew will have to run down Slew's Destiny, a lightly-raced 5-year-old who posted some rapid fractions in 2008. Twice Slew's Destiny ran the first quarter-mile in 22.20 seconds before fading. If the Roy Lumm-trained Slew's Destiny can slow things down early, he could be a handful breaking from the rail under jockey Jose Zunino.

The remaining three horses have done enough to merit consideration. Little Red Eagle is a four-time winner who has never been worse than second in five starts at Emerald Downs. Poncho has only one win, but his connections thought highly of him last summer, trying him in the one-mile, $50,000 Trooper Seven Stakes in his season finale. Robbos Courage won a $25,000 sprint at Emerald last June.