04/21/2004 11:00PM

She's the speed, but there's a catch

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AUBURN, Wash. - How do you feel about lone speed? What about horses who have been off for 15 months?

If your answers to those two questions were different, then you might have a hard time figuring out what to do with Maid in the Moon in Saturday's best race at Emerald Downs, a six-furlong sprint for $16,000 older fillies and mares that has drawn a field of six.

Maid in the Moon is the clear speed of the field, having won 10 of 21 starts, including five wins from six starts against better company in 2002.

All her wins have come in wire-to-wire fashion.

Maid in the Moon, a 7-year-old daughter of Son of Briartic, ran seventh and last in a sprint stakes at Turf Paradise in January 2003, however, and she has not raced since.

Trainer Bill Tollett put Maid in the Moon back into training this winter at Turf Paradise, and she worked five furlongs in February. But a gap in her work tab from March 14, when she worked for the last time in Phoenix, to April 11, when she worked for the first time at Emerald Downs, makes her readiness a tricky read.

Should Maid in the Moon tire, Got You Slew will likely be the one to inherit the lead.

Got You Slew has tactical speed and should have little difficulty securing the second spot in the early running, as rivals Run Free, Elegant Colors, Be Still My Heart, and Asummerforwindy all come from well off the pace.

Despite the small field for the feature, 83 horses were entered for Saturday's 10-race card, an encouraging improvement over the 6.9-horse average field size through the first three days of the meeting.