07/02/2006 12:00AM

Speedsters hook up in sprint


AUBURN, Wash. - A field of five promising 3-year-olds will face off in Tuesday's best race at Emerald Downs, a first-level allowance test at six furlongs carded as race 5.

Competition for the lead figures to be intense, as each of the entrants but one collected his maiden victory in gate-to-wire fashion. Two did so on the maiden special weight level.

Black Jack Joe defeated maiden special weight runners at Golden Gate in his second start last November. He came back later that month at Golden Gate and helped set the pace in the Mill Valley Stakes, won by Kentucky Derby contestant Cause to Believe, but tired to finish ninth and was turned out. Black Jack Joe, a son of In Excess who is trained by Roy Lumm, resurfaced in an allowance race here on June 9 and tired after setting the pace and checked in eighth. He has since worked a half-mile in 45.80 and should be fitter in his second start back.

Izzacopy wired straight maidens at this track in his seasonal debut on May 6, then ran a good third against allowance rivals. He then tried stakes company in the June 4 Pepsi-Cola Handicap, but finished seventh after failing to make the lead. He returns with three fast interim drills in tow and appears primed for a top try.

Im Pure Country enjoys a tactical advantage over his opponents, as he is the only member of the field who has demonstrated an ability to rate and pass horses.