07/04/2007 12:00AM

Rhapsodic Gold back at best distance


AUBURN, Wash. - Rhapsodic Gold figures as the one to beat in Friday's Emerald Downs feature, a six-furlong affair for fillies and mares eligible to be claimed for $7,500.

Rhapsodic Gold, a 6-year-old daughter of Consigliere from the barn of trainer Bob Meeking, is coming off a solid second at 6 1/2 furlongs when racing for the same $7,500 tag on June 15. Rhapsodic Gold should be helped by the cutback to six furlongs, a distance at which she has won 4 of 6 tries, and she should also benefit from drawing the outside post in the field of seven. She has enough speed to set or stalk the pace as the situation demands, and rider Juan Gutierrez will be able to assess the situation before committing to a strategy.

Our Monstarr figures to offer Rhapsodic Gold her sternest challenge, having traded decisions with that rival in her last two starts. Our Monstarr, a 6-year-old trained by Larry Wolf, finished second to Rhapsodic Gold's third in a six-furlong test for $7,5000 claimers on May 25, then ran a close fourth behind Rhapsodic Gold's second in the June 15 race. Our Monstarr will be dependent on an honest pace, as she is a committed deep closer, but she will have leading rider Ricky Frazier aboard to time her move.

Also a threat is Winning Weave, who is dropping sharply in class after a subpar effort at the $17,500 level. Winning Weave, a 6-year-old who is trained by Joe Toye, won 6 of 12 starts last year, but she is winless in eight tries this year. She could return to form with the class drop on Friday, when she will be ridden by Wilson Dieguez.