06/20/2006 11:00PM

Starter cap a nice spot for 'Stars'


AUBURN, Wash. - Stars on the Water heads a competitive field of seven fillies and mares in a starter handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Friday. The race, which is restricted to horses who have started for a claiming price of $10,000 or less, boasts an enhanced purse of $12,700.

Stars on the Water, a 5-year-old daughter of Marquetry trained by Chris Stenslie, rates top billing off a pair of creditable efforts at the meeting against better. Stars on the Water defeated $20,000 claimers at a mile in her May 19 seasonal debut, then came back to run an even fourth when meeting $25,000 optional claimers at a mile on June 11. She ran second going 1 3/16 miles when racing under the same conditions here last year, so the additional sixteenth of Friday's race should prove no obstacle. Kevin Radke again has the mount at 118 pounds.

Stars on the Water may get her sternest challenge from My Emy My Amy, who was claimed by leading trainer Tim McCanna out of a mile race for $17,500 claimers on June 11. My Emy My Amy ran a good third that day for her sixth straight in-the-money finish, and it is more than possible that she was claimed specifically to run in Friday's feature. Her new owners, Pat LePley and Carol Hern, certainly knew the race was coming up, as they supplemented the purse by $2,500 in order to name the race after Lorna Brown, a horse owner and longtime racing fan.

Also dangerous is Darling Silver, who returns to Emerald Downs after just missing in a $6,250 sprint at Turf Paradise.