05/16/2002 11:00PM

Speedy 'Meeting' tops field


AUBURN, Wash. - Crowning Meeting, fresh from a track-record-equaling victory in the Seattle Handicap at six furlongs, will take on eight challengers in Sunday's 6 1/2-furlong, $35,000 Sports Net Handicap at Emerald Downs.

Crowning Meeting took advantage of a hotly contested pace to win the April 28 Seattle with a powerful stretch move that carried him to the wire nearly two lengths in front of Road Afleet in 1:07.80. It was the first local stakes win for Crowning Meeting, who won a pair of stakes at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate in 2000. He now has $472,982 in earnings from seven wins in 16 career starts. Gary Baze will ride 8-year-old Crowning Meeting at 119 pounds.

The co-highweight is Handy N Bold, who also shares the Emerald track record for six furlongs. Handy N Bold was an even-money favorite to win his 10th local stakes in the Seattle, but was used up dueling from the inside with Sabertooth, who is back in the Fox Sports Net lineup. Charles Essex, the trainer of 7-year-old Handy N Bold, said he hoped that his horse would draw outside of Sabertooth on Sunday, but it was not to be. Handy N Bold drew the rail, while Sabertooth will exit post 4 under Gallyn Mitchell at 114 pounds.

Adding fuel to the pace fire are Sullivanitis and Danzilation, who will be making their debuts in the local handicap ranks. Sullivanitis won his last three starts as a front-runner, including a six-furlong optional $40,000 claiming race on April 21. Danzilation got second after setting the pace last time out in the 6 1/2-furlong George Royal Handicap at Hastings Park on April 28.