06/25/2007 11:00PM

Shampoo maintains focus


AUBURN, Wash. - The nine 3-year-old fillies who lined up for Sunday's one-mile Irish Day Handicap had plenty of reasons to be rattled.

Most members of the field were lightly raced, and all but two were starting in front of the grandstand for the first time. Add to that a deluge of biblical proportions that struck during the post parade and a lengthy delay that followed the late scratch of Wings of Justice, who acted up in the gate, and the stage was set for further mayhem.

"Anything could happen now," said Laurie Ansell, who was saddling Ochoco Salmon, one of one of the longer-priced entrants, perhaps a bit hopefully.

But no. The Irish Day could not have been more formful, as the favored Shampoo won off by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:37 under a predictably crafty ride by Ricky Frazier. Zaylaway, the third choice, edged fourth-choice Firetrail for second, and second-favorite Skewing ran fourth.

Who woulda thunk it? Doris Harwood, for one. Harwood trains Shampoo for Jerre Paxton's Northwest Farms, and she had both the opportunity and the inclination to observe her filly closely in the minutes leading up to the Irish Day.

"The way she behaved in the paddock and at the gate, I just wasn't worried," the trainer said. "When they took all the horses out of the gate, she was anxious to get back in. She is just so confident. She is a really classy filly."

Shampoo's Irish Day victory gave her three stakes wins in a row, as she had previously won the U.S. Bank Stakes at six furlongs and the Federal Way Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs. Lasting Code pulled off the same hat trick in 2002 and so did Queenledo in 2005, but both of those fillies faltered in the 1 1/16-mile Kent Handicap, which will be run this year as the $65,000 Washington's Lottery Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on July 22. If Shampoo fails to stretch her winning streak to four in that event, it probably won't be because of the added distance.

"She is really bred to go long, and she has the right temperament and attitude," Harwood said. "Ricky was amazed when he started getting on her. He thinks she'll do anything he asks her to do."

Frazier asked Shampoo, a homebred daughter of Gulch and Barbara Shinpoch Stakes winner Taste the Passion, to do several new things Sunday. Besides trying a mile for the first time and making her first start on a wet track, Shampoo came from much farther back than usual and ate a lot of mud before coming through along the rail at the top of the stretch to take the lead. She seemed to handle it all with aplomb, but Frazier didn't think she really enjoyed the sloppy footing.

"Even down the lane, she wasn't liking the track," the rider said. "But she still ran away from them. I kept looking back, but nothing was coming. She was just too good for them."

Frazier extends jockey standings lead

It is looking more and more as though Frazier also is too good for his competition at Emerald Downs. The rider, who led the local colony in stakes wins in each of the last three seasons, has already scored four stakes wins at the current meet, including scores in the last three added-money events.

Frazier also is making a strong bid to be the track's leading rider for the third time in the last four years. On Saturday, he won five races for the third time at Emerald Downs, and he now holds a commanding 57-38 lead in the jockey standings over his nearest pursuer, Leslie Mawing.

Horses tie juvenile track record

Two juveniles equaled the fastest five-furlong time ever run by a 2-year-old at Emerald Downs last weekend, and both did it while making their career debuts against $30,000 maidens.

On Saturday, it was Katie's Cruiser, a daughter of He's Tops from the barn of trainer Steve Bullock, who sped the distance in 57.20 to win off by 6 1/2 lengths under Juan Gutierrez. Katie's Cruiser is a homebred who races for Jack and Teresa Hodge's Oak Crest Farm, and she is out of the Green Dancer mare Millfleur.

Jack Hodge said Millfleur was a disappointment on the track, but he kept her as a broodmare because of her outstanding looks.

"We kept hoping she would get something that could run to her looks," he said.

On Sunday, Courageous Son equaled Katie's Cruiser's clocking despite breaking last of eight from the rail post. He recovered to score by 6 1/4 lengths under Gallyn Mitchell. Courageous Son also is by He's Tops, who now has four juvenile winners from 14 races for 2-year-olds at the meet, and out of Silent Assembly, by General Assembly. He is trained by Jim Penney and races for R and R Warren LLC.

Packy was the first horse to run five furlongs in 57.20 at Emerald, doing so in July 2004.

* James Halket, trainer of 1975 Longacres Mile winner Jim, died last week in Vancouver, British Columbia, at age 92.