05/22/2009 11:00PM

Seminole Brave should be part of hot pace


AUBURN, Wash. - A couple of shippers from north of the border and the top older horses on the grounds should make for a highly competitive running of the $50,000 Fox Sports Network Handicap Monday at Emerald Downs. The 10-race holiday card begins at 2 p.m., and the FSN will go as the sixth race.

Seminole Brave, 2 for 2 this season at Vancouver's Hastings racecourse, looms a powerful pace factor in the 6 1/2-furlong FSN. Forest Prince, one of the leading 3-year-olds at Hastings last summer, does his best running from off the pace. How they stack up to Emerald's best will come into clear focus in the FSN, an important stepping-stone to the Grade 3, $300,000 Longacres Mile in mid-August.

Seminole Brave won the 6 1/2-furlong George Royal Handicap on May 2, stalking a quick pace before taking control near the quarter pole. His primary adversary in the FSN figures to be Kruger Park, a front-running winner of the six-furlong Seattle Handicap on May 3. How fast those two go early could be critical to the outcome. The talented late-running sprinters Forest Prince, Assessment, Gallon, Starbird Road, and Wasserman are in the 10-horse field, and a hot pace could soften things up for them.

While the betting figures to be spread out, Seminole Brave could be one of the favorites. A winner of five of his 12 starts, the 5-year-old Florida-bred is trained by Mel Snow. Ismael Mosqueira is schedule to ride.

Forest Prince began his career with trainer Todd Pletcher in Southern California. He raced in Kentucky, New York, and Illinois before finding a home with trainer Troy Taylor in British Columbia. Owned by Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella, the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez.

Kruger Park put away two challengers at the top of the lane and held off fast-closing Assessment to win the Seattle Handicap, his first start for trainer Carlos Moreno and his wife, Maria, who claimed the 5-year-old Florida-bred for $50,000 at Santa Anita in late March. Javier Matias, who rode Kruger Park to his first stakes victory, has the call again Monday.

Assessment, a hard-luck loser in the Seattle Handicap when he was forced to alter course in midstretch, is sure to attract support, as is his Howard Belvoir-trained stablemate Wasserman.