07/05/2006 11:00PM

Sabertooth to be tested in return

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AUBURN, Wash. - World-record holder Sabertooth will make his return to action in a wide-open six-furlong allowance race at Emerald Downs on Saturday.

Sabertooth, an 8-year-old son of Petersburg who is now trained by Grant Forster, won last year's FSN Handicap in 1:13 for 6 1/2 furlongs, a world record on dirt. He came back to run a strong second in the one-mile Emerald Handicap, but was unplaced in two subsequent starts and has not run since last October.

Sabertooth, who won the Grade 3 Longacres Mile in 2002, has compiled an impressive work tab, including a six-furlong drill in 1:10.60 a week ago. Nate Chaves, aboard for both his Mile win and his world-record run, has the mount.

Sabertooth figures to be thoroughly tested by fellow stakes winners Starbird Road, Flying Notes, and Salt Grinder. Starbird Road, a 5-year-old trained by Sharon Ross, figures to be especially tough off his current form. He began his campaign with a sharp win in the six-furlong Seattle Handicap, then returned with a fourth-place finish after a wide trip in the FSN Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Flying Notes and Salt Grinder are also very capable. Flying Notes, who won the 2002 Emerald Derby here in spectacular fashion, will be making his third start back after a long absence owing to a tendon injury. Salt Grinder, who won the 6 1/2-furlong Governor's Handicap in 2004, is coming off an easy win over $32,000 optional claiming company on May 27.