04/27/2004 11:00PM

Slewicide Cruise exits fast sprint

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AUBURN, Wash. - Slewicide Cruise, who finished second when Willie the Cat set a track-record here on opening night, heads a field of nine older sprinters in Friday's feature at Emerald Downs, a $25,000 optional claiming race at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Slewicide Cruise was beaten 7 3/4 lengths when Willie the Cat sped 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:01.20 on April 16, but finished with good energy to get second by 2 1/2 lengths against a tough field of allowance runners. Among those behind Slewicide Cruise were stakes winners Knightsbridge Road and Danzilation, allowance winners Easy Enough and Bold Mango, and seven-time winner Full Force Gale.

Willie the Cat returned to win last Sunday's six-furlong Seattle Handicap by nearly two lengths, further flattering Slewicide Cruise's performance.

The opening-night feature was the first start since November for the 4-year-old Slewicide Cruise, and he should move forward off that effort.

Among Slewicide Cruise's challengers is Moonlight Storm, who ranks as one of the sharpest horses on the grounds. Moonlight Storm, a 4-year-old from the barn of trainer Frank Lucarelli, won his Emerald Downs debut on April 18 when he sped five furlongs in 56.20 seconds to defeat $25,000 claiming company. It was the fourth win from his last five starts for Moonlight Storm.

Also dangerous is Call Columbo, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Moonlight Storm on April 18. Call Columbo closed from sixth position to just miss despite battling a potent speed bias.