07/18/2003 12:00AM

Speed is missing from Boeing

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AUBURN, Wash. - Trainer Bob McMeans, who will saddle Strikes No Spares in Sunday's 1 1/16-mile Boeing Handicap, and trainer Grant Forster, who will send out both Secondary School and Tamarack Bay, fretted earlier this week about whether there would be enough speed in the $40,000 stakes at Emerald Downs to set up the late runs of their closers.

As it turns out, there was good reason to worry.

Though five front-runners were nominated to the Boeing, that number was sliced to two when Whiskey Til Dawn and Whatdidshesay elected to go in a $50,000 optional claiming sprint and Fourteen Wishes opted for a $32,000 race, both on Sunday's program.

That leaves R C Gangster and Silver Screen Girl to battle for the early lead, and there is some question as to whether R C Gangster will even bid for the lead. A 4-year-old daughter of Vying Victor from the barn of Jim Penney, R C Gangster has good speed, but has also posted three of her five career wins from slightly off the pace. She will be attempting two turns for the first time on Sunday, and rider Amir Cedeno might decide to reserve her early to improve her chances of lasting the distance.

Silver Screen Girl can be extremely hard to overhaul when allowed to set her own fractions, as she demonstrated two races back in an allowance race at a mile. On that occasion she led throughout to win by nearly six lengths over Strikes No Spares and Tamarack Bay in 1:36. Silver Screen Girl, who is trained by Doris Harwood, returned to run second to Strikes No Spares in the King County Handicap on June 28.