06/23/2005 12:00AM

Strollin Slew has tough act to follow


AUBURN, Wash. - Strollin Slew looms as the one to beat in Saturday's top offering at Emerald Downs, a $25,000 optional claiming affair for fillies and mares to be run at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Strollin Slew, a regally bred 5-year-old by Seattle Slew out of the Forty Niner matron Fooling, made a strong impression in her Emerald debut in a six-furlong test on May 14. Strollin Slew got involved in a torrid pace duel with three others, including Karis Makaw, but outlasted those rivals to hold second behind the perfect trip winner, Star Amethyst. Karis Makaw flattered that effort by returning to defeat several of the top distaffers on the grounds here last Saturday.

Prior to her local start, which came for trainer Sharon Ross, Strollin Slew had proven competitive with maiden special weight and first-level allowance company at the major California tracks, posting 10 in-the-money finishes from 16 starts.

Strollin Slew figures to get her sternest competition from the Ron Crockett-owned entry of Carrie's a Jewel and Real Tickled.

Carrie's a Jewel, trained by Junior Coffey, finished a half-length behind Strollin Slew on May 14, when she was making her seasonal bow. Carrie's a Jewel benefited from the hot pace that day, coming from sixth to finish third, but she can also be expected to improve in her second start of the year.

Real Tickled, trained by Tom Wenzel, comes off a 2 1/2-length win over maiden special weight company on May 20.