06/03/2003 11:00PM

Sharp start would help 'Bunny'

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AUBURN, Wash. - A wide-open field of 10 older horses, each eligible to be claimed for $10,000, will do battle at one mile in Friday's featured seventh race.

While it is devilishly difficult to predict who will be ahead at the finish of the headliner, it is a good bet that Be the Bunny will be leading early.

Be the Bunny, an extremely quick son of Santiago Peak trained by Dayson Lavanaway, is rarely denied the early lead. He has twice carried his speed a mile, downing $20,000 company here last September and defeating $7,000-8,000 claimers May 16. He failed to make the lead after breaking slowly in his most recent try, against $10,000-12,5000 claimers in a one-mile race

May 26, and finished eighth. He should fare better with an alert start Friday. Ben Russell will ride at 119 pounds.

Be the Bunny is one of four horses in Friday's field who are dropping in class from a one-mile race run May 26. Be the Bunny finished eighth, with Themanwithebigcigr fourth, Cascade Casey's fifth, and Barfly Begone's seventh. In his previous outing, Themanwithebigcigr was a three-length winner over $7,000-8,000 claimers at one mile.

Amir Cedeno was up for both of those races and again has the call on Themanwithebigcigr for trainer Sharon Ross.

Another threat is Star of Rehaan, who stretches out to one mile following a pair of even sprint efforts against $16,000 company. Star of Rehaan beat $12,500 claimers at one mile in his lone win from eight starts last year, and seems primed for a top try.