08/17/2007 12:00AM

Speedy She's All Silk key to Distaff


AUBURN, Wash. - Sunday's $100,000 Emerald Distaff for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles only has half as many entrants as the featured Longacres Mile, which drew a field of 12, but it may have even more contention. A case can be made for each of the six contestants, and fans could have difficulty settling on a favorite.

If it is hard to find the one to beat in the Distaff, it is easy enough to locate the one to catch. That will be She's All Silk, who showed the way in the last three stakes for the division at the meeting.

She's All Silk, a 4-year-old daughter of Delineator, held on for the win in the 6 1/2-furlong Washington State Legislators Handicap, but she was caught on the wire by Sudden Departure in the one-mile King County Handicap and she was passed by both Beaulena and Sudden Departure in the recent Boeing Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.

"She sort of ran off in the King County, and she got hooked in the Boeing," said trainer Pat Mullens. "I'm hoping neither of those things happen on Sunday."

Mullens said he feels he caught a break when She's All Silk drew the rail for the Distaff. When she ran off in the King County, She's All Silk drew post 9 under rider Ricky Frazier.

"Ricky had to send her to clear the field before they got to the first turn, and once you ask her to run it is hard to get her to settle back in and relax," said Mullens. "I don't think Ricky will have to send her so hard from the rail, so maybe she'll be able to get to the front and relax."

The horse who hooked She's All Silk in the Boeing was Light My Ducks, who was not entered back in the Distaff. Her role could be assumed by Gemstone Rush, however. Gemstone Rush, a 5-year-old from the Northern California barn of trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, has shown good speed both on turf and dirt, and she is coming into the Distaff fresh after more than two months on the sidelines. Moreover, she will be ridden by Russell Baze, who placed her on or very near the lead in most of the 12 races he has ridden her.

Anything like a speed duel between She's All Silk and Gemstone Rush could open the door for Beaulena, Sudden Departure, Fortunate Event, and Lady Raj, all of whom do their best running from off the pace.

"A lot depends on what Russell does with Gemstone Rush," said Richard Wright, the trainer of Beaulena. "I'm thinking he'll feel he needs to put some pressure on She's All Silk, and that will make it a really interesting race. Just about any of them could win it with the right trip."

'Gotaghost' should take to Mile

Looking for a live price play in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile? Trainer Roger Stein said he feels you need look no further than his entrant, Gotaghostofachance, who is listed at 6-1 on track handicapper Rob Rau's morning line.

The Southern California-based Stein is enthusiastic by nature, but he has good reason to be high on Gotaghostofachance, who campaigns for owners Ross McLeod and Charles Ming of Vancouver, British Columbia. Purchased as a 3-year-old in 2004, Gotaghostofachance won Belmont's Grade 3 Sports Page and ran second in Del Mar's Grade 2 Pat O'Brien in 2005, both at seven furlongs, then missed most of his 5-year-old season with an injury. He came back this year to win an allowance sprint at Hollywood in June, and he has since finished sixth and fifth in a pair of Grade 1s, Hollywood's seven-furlong Triple Bend and Del Mar's six-furlong Bing Crosby.

Gotaghostofachance has established himself as a top sprinter, but Stein said he feels the stretch-out to a mile could actually move him up.

"This is what he wants to do," Stein said. "I've wanted to stretch him out ever since I got him, but every time I got him ready to go long something happened. He has been a hard-luck horse in that respect, but I am convinced he wants to go a mile. He has a very efficient stride, and he can cruise along at a high speed for a long time. That's what it takes to be a miler."

Stein respects his competition, both the locals and his fellow shippers, but said he feels his horse is a snug fit in this year's Mile field.

"It's a tough field, but for $400,000 it could have been even tougher," said Stein. "I feel the racing gods have been smiling on us. My horse is good right now, and we got him in a good spot. If he runs his race, I'm confident he will have a big say in the outcome."

Washington-breds good to Stein

Stein will be saddling his first starter at Emerald Downs in Sunday's Mile, but he has long been a booster of Washington breeding. The trainer reported that he has campaigned a number of Washington-breds over the years, and he has enjoyed a good deal of success with them.

He currently trains the 4-year-old Washington-bred filly Charmin Dot, whom he claimed for $12,500 at Bay Meadows in December. She has since won four races and more than $100,000 in Southern California.

"I feel that dollar for dollar - dollar spent and dollar earned - Washington-breds can hold their own with any horses in the country," he said. "Charmin Dot is a good example, but there have been plenty of others. They're like me and most of the people I train for - they're hard-knockers. The breeders in Washington don't have to apologize to anyone. They breed some really nice horses."