09/15/2003 11:00PM

'Skookum' should feel some heat

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AUBURN, Wash. - Skookum Pass figures to be favored over five rivals in Thursday's feature at Emerald Downs, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds eligible to be claimed for $16,000.

Skookum Pass, an extremely quick son of Robyn Dancer from the barn of Roy Lumm, just missed under the same conditions when he made his two-turn debut on Sept. 4. On that occasion, Skookum Pass, who routinely shades 22 seconds for the first quarter-mile when sprinting, slowed the pace to 24.80 and 49.20 seconds for a half-mile before yielding by a neck to Devil's Bro in 1:38.20. Skookum Pass should benefit from that experience on Thursday, but it is doubtful that he will be allowed to slow down the pace to quite the same degree.

We Will Prevail also has good speed and should at least force Skookum Pass to set a legitimate pace. In a pair of recent mile tries against $16,000 claimers, We Will Prevail set or pressed the pace through a half-mile in 46 seconds before settling for second on Aug. 14 and fourth on Aug. 22.

An honest pace should boost the chances of All N the Game, who finished third to Skookum Pass's second on Sept. 4. All N the Game, who had won his two previous tries at around two turns, found himself 4 1/2 lengths behind after a half-mile and could make up only three lengths while trying to close into the slow fractions. He finished only 1 1/4 lengths behind Skookum Pass and may be able to close that gap with a faster pace to target on Thursday.

The feature will go as the seventh of eight live races.