08/27/2003 11:00PM

Sundance Circle heavy favorite


AUBURN, Wash. - Sundance Circle puts his unblemished record on the line Saturday when he heads a field of seven 2-year-olds in the $35,000 WTBA Lads Stakes at a mile.

Sundance Circle, a striking son of Katowice, has been progressively more impressive in his three starts, winning his debut by 2 1/2 lengths over maiden special weight company before registering a 5 1/2-length win in the Emerald Express and a 10 3/4-length score in the Strong Ruler Stakes on Aug. 9. He ran the fastest 6 1/2 furlongs every recorded by a 2-year-old at Emerald, 1:15.20, in the Strong Ruler.

Though certain to go off as a strong favorite, Sundance Circle will face his sternest opposition Saturday. He carries high weight of 120 pounds, including jockey Jennifer Whitaker, and stretches out to a mile in the Lads.

Random Memo and Harvard Avenue, who finished a nose apart in a $50,000 optional claiming race at 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 17, figure to test Sundance Circle. Random Memo won the race in 1:16.60.

He graduated at the $25,000 level on July 12, winning off by 11 3/4 lengths with 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.60. Regular rider Gallyn Mitchell again has the mount at 118 pounds.

Harvard Avenue posted a 6 1/2-length win over maiden special weight company in his 5 1/2-furlong debut before running second to Sundance Circle in the Emerald Express and dropping the close decision to Random Memo in his most recent outing. A stretch-runner, Harvard Avenue seems likely to improve with distance.