04/15/2009 11:00PM

Siberian Cocktail set to fire

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Eight 3-year-olds with designs on summer stakes races were entered in Saturday's feature race at Emerald Downs, a 5 1/2-furlong first-level allowance. It will go as the eighth race on a nine-race card that begins at 2 p.m.

Although several speed types signed up, the front-running Siberian Cocktail looks like the horse to beat. Conditioned by 2008 Emerald Downs leading trainer Tim McCanna, Siberian Cocktail recorded an 86 Beyer in his six-furlong maiden victory last September, and then finished second to Noosa Beach after a prolonged speed duel in the $50,000 Captain Condo Stakes, also at six furlongs.

Siberian Cocktail was freshened over the winter and has trained forwardly for his 2009 debut. With regular rider Seth Martinez still at Turf Paradise, Ricky Frazier will ride Siberian Cocktail on Saturday.

Zagreus, stakes placed in 2008, will be hard to hold off if Siberian Cocktail and his speedy adversaries go too fast early. Zagreus finished second for trainer Tom Wenzel in the $45,000 Premio Esmeralda Stakes in July and ran a sharp second in a first-level allowance sprint in September. He finished his 2008 campaign with a fourth-place finish in the $90,000 Gottstein Futurity. Zagreus will be ridden by Juan Gutierrez.

Other leading contenders are Inhoc Signo Vinces and Eighty Eight. Inhoc Signo Vinces followed his maiden victory last summer with a fifth-place finish in the Premio Esmeralda. He pressed the pace in that race before fading, and then went to the sideline for the rest of the summer. A bullet four-furlong work Tuesday should have him on edge for trainer Rigoberto Velasquez. Eighty Eight won twice in three starts last summer for trainer Vann Belvoir. Like most of the horses in Saturday's feature, he has every right to improve as a 3-year-old.