03/22/2007 11:00PM

Shaky Town comes off two close calls

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Shaky Town and Chippewa Trail appear to have a slight edge over comebacking stakes winners Casino Evil and No Tolerance on Sunday in the featured ninth race at Oaklawn Park. The one-mile optional claimer drew a stakes-quality field of older horses, and a number of them should advance to the $100,000 Fifth Season here April 12.

Shaky Town, a multiple stakes winner, could rule as a slight favorite Sunday following two close finishes at the meet. He was fourth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, in an optional claiming route race here Jan. 25 in his first start since October 2005. He followed that with a close third in a 1 1/16-mile allowance Feb. 23.

"The first time he ran here, he was stuck between horses," said Jorge Lara, who trains Shaky Town for Gary and Mary West. "He finally came on the last sixteenth. He could never get out. He was on the inside the whole way."

Shaky Town will break from post 6 under Carlos Gonzalez.

"He's always real close, and he's won a couple of times wire to wire," said Lara.

Lara said Shaky Town could move back into stakes company later this spring at Louisiana Downs.

Casino Evil is a candidate for the Fifth Season, said his trainer, Mike Tomlinson. He is making his first start since Nov. 18, when he rallied for second behind Patriot Act in a second-level allowance at Churchill Downs. Casino Evil, who won the $150,000 Round Table at Arlington Park last July, will break from the rail under Justin Shepherd.

"He won the Round Table on the front end, but that race was a little bit void of pace, so he's versatile enough to be where he needs to be," said Tomlinson.

No Tolerance last raced in October, when he finished seventh in a turf allowance at Keeneland. One start earlier, he won the Grade 3 Carey Memorial Handicap at Hawthorne. Trainer Mike Campbell has given the mount to Joel Campbell.

The field also includes recent allowance winner Like an Eagle, who is a candidate for the Fifth Season, said his trainer, Steve Hobby.

o El Romeo, a 3-year-old son of Storm Cat and champion Phone Chatter, will make his career debut in the 10th, a six-furlong maiden special weight. El Romeo, who is a full brother to Grade 2 winner Cat Chat, is trained by Ron Moquett and will be ridden by John Jacinto.