07/11/2001 11:00PM

Slippy drops after sharp sprint win

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AUBURN, Wash. - Slippy will head an exceptionally tough field of seven older $16,000 sprinters in Friday's 6 1/2-furlong feature at Emerald Downs.

Slippy, a lightly raced 4-year-old, should be favored off an impressive performance in his last race, a length victory over $25,000 rivals on June 9, when he led throughout 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.20. Slippy has been on the sidelines for five weeks, but two recent half-mile drills in 47.60 seconds and 46.60 are evidence that he has retained his edge for trainer Howard Belvoir.

Slippy will be challenged by some sharp rivals, including Knight Invasion. He has not been worse than second in five starts at the meeting, the last two of which were on the $16,000 level. In the most recent of those outings on June 30, Knight Invasion was beaten only 2 1/2 lengths by Full Force Gale, who sizzled 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.60.

Two others in Friday's lineup will be seeking a third consecutive win. Both Itsasgoodasitgets and El Bon defeated $8,000 company in their next-to-last starts, then stepped up to defeat $12,500 runners in their most recent races. Itsasgoodasitgets has been off since June 1, however, while El Bon is coming back in a more timely fashion, having raced on June 29. El Bon, a 5-year-old gelding from the barn of Tim McCanna, ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.40 in his latest win and seems a strong threat to win again.

Also a possibility is Elttaes Bay, who will be dropping from the $40,000 optional claiming level after a pair of last-place efforts.