05/27/2002 11:00PM

Series for claimers begins

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AUBURN, Wash. - Lower level claiming horses, the backbone of any race meet, will be recognized at Emerald Downs on Thursday when the track runs the first of four races in the Stanislaw Ashbaugh Series.

Thursday's leg of the series is a six-furlong sprint for $3,200 starter allowance company with a purse of $7,000, including a $2,000 supplement put up by the series sponsor. The race drew a field of seven older horses with a combined record of 39 wins in 215 starts.

In conjunction with the series, the track is running a promotion worth $500 in wagering vouchers for fans in attendance.

Among the playable entrants in Thursday's feature, which will go as the seventh of eight live races, is Forbid. Trained and owned by Kim Newport, Forbid pulled off an upset in his first start at the meeting on May 19, defeating $4,000 claimers at 6 1/2 furlongs by a length at 23-1. Despite the odds, Forbid appeared to be much the best, as he was forced to check repeatedly around the turn before surging to the front when he found racing room in the stretch.

The other recent winner is If Not Why Not, who scored a front-running victory against $3,200 company on May 23 in the fast six-furlong time of 1:09.60.

If Not Why Not, who won two of three starts at Emerald last year, raced well at higher levels before his last start, and it now appears that trainer and part-owner George Colello took a risk and won when he dropped If Not Why Not in company for his recent win, a drop that also makes him eligible for Thursday's race.

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