05/19/2003 11:00PM

Series aims to reward regulars

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AUBURN, Wash. - The initial leg of the Stanislaw Ashbaugh Starter Series headlines Thursday's eight-race program at Emerald Downs. The $7,000 race has drawn a field of 10 older $3,200 starter allowance runners to vie at 6 1/2 furlongs.

The series is designed to reward lower-level claimers, the backbone of most weekday cards at Emerald, and Super Writer will make a fitting favorite. The 8-year-old Super Writer, who races for owners Allen Floyd and Jack Guier, has won 14 of 36 career starts, including 11 of 23 outings at Emerald.

Super Writer starred in the track's marathon series in 2001, when he won the nine- and 10-furlong legs of the series and finished second in the 12-furlong finale to amass the most points of all competitors. He sat out all of 2002 with an injury, but resumed racing last February at Portland Meadows and won his final start in Portland at the $2,500 level. Super Writer made it two in a row with a victory over $3,200 claimers at 6 1/2 furlongs in his first start at this meeting on May 2.

Super Writer retains the riding services of leading jockey Kevin Radke at 123 pounds on Sunday.

Super Writer will meet three other recent winners in Dothedevilin, Silver Rock, and Shawo Mountain. Shawo Mountain, a 7-year-old from the barn of Tim McCanna, notched his 11th win from 69 starts on May 4 when he downed $3,200 rivals at a mile by more than three lengths. Though best known as a router, Shawo Mountain just missed in a 5 1/2-furlong race in his first try at the meeting on April 15 and would seem capable of scoring at a furlong farther, though he has never attempted the 6 1/2-furlong distance.