09/03/2003 12:00AM

Sidekick's form sharp for feature

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AUBURN, Wash. - A competitive field of seven older horses, each eligible to be claimed for $16,000, will meet at 6 1/2 furlongs in Friday's featured seventh race at Emerald Downs.

Sidekick rates as the one to beat off his sterling record of 4 wins from 6 starts at the meet, including three wins at the $16,000 level and a pair of wins going 6 1/2 furlongs. Sidekick, a 6-year-old from the barn of Rick Terry, has been away five weeks since finishing a close third at the $20,000 level, but he worked five furlongs in a swift 58.80 seconds on Aug. 24 and lures leading jockey Kevin Radke to ride.

Sidekick doesn't have a wide margin for error, however, and he must pack 123 pounds while breaking from the outside post. Should he falter, any of his six rivals have the credentials to pick up the pieces.

April Surprise, who finished second and then third to Sidekick in his last two tries, has been freshened since July 6 and returns to action with a string of fast workouts showing. April Surprise won under Friday's conditions here in May and is always tough to collar when he can shake loose early.

Brite Bounty figures to challenge April Surprise early. He has been on the lead in his last five outings and held on to win three of those tries, all at a mile. He ran a creditable third in his only try at 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 3, when he was racing at the $16,000 level.

Predominator, Cascade Casey, and Star of Elttaes, all winners at this meet, will pose late threats.