06/23/2003 11:00PM

Savannah Thumper right back?


AUBURN, Wash. - Savannah Thumper obviously had an edge when he won his debut against $8,000 maidens on May 24. Just how big that edge was figures to become clear on Thursday, when he steps up to the $20,000 level to face half a dozen other 3-year-olds in the 6 1/2-furlong feature at Emerald Downs.

Savannah Thumper, a gelded son of Knight in Savannah from the barn of trainer Sharon Ross, was dismissed at 11-1 in his 5 1/2-furlong debut, but quickly showed bettors the error of their ways. Under a confident ride from Gary Baze, Savannah Thumper circled the field while racing extremely wide on the turn and drew away without need of urging to score by 5 1/2 lengths in a rapid 1:04. Off the finishing ability he showed that day Savannah Thumper would seem likely to relish an extra furlong on Thursday, and with two fast drills since he may well be favored over more seasoned foes.

Savannah Thumper will likely have to catch To the Victor, who pressed the pace in the Pepsi Cola Handicap before fading to finish a well-beaten seventh in his local debut on May 26. To the Victor scored his initial win for trainer Sarina Obergfell last fall at Turf Paradise, leading throughout in maiden special weight company at six furlongs.

Freedom Song also is dangerous in his second start at the meet. He contested the pace through six furlongs before finishing fourth in a mile race for $32,000 claimers on June 12. Freedom Song, a maiden winner in $40,000 company here last year, when he won at 5 1/2 furlongs in his career debut, should go better with Thursday's cutback in distance.