Updated on 09/16/2011 7:47AM

Tacoma no stretch for Flying Notes

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AUBURN, Wash. - Some of the 3-year-olds in Sunday's 1 1/16-mile Tacoma Handicap, an early prep for the nine-furlong Emerald Downs Derby on Sept. 2, will be seeking to prove they can stretch their speed around two turns.

That's not the case with Flying Notes, the 121- pound highweight and certain favorite after his impressive victory in last month's Seattle Slew Handicap at a mile. Flying Notes, a smallish son of French Deputy and the Caro mare Caromine, went to the front at the start, bore out alarmingly around the second turn, then dug in again through the stretch to win going away by five lengths in 1:35.20.

"It looked like he would go on quite a bit farther," noted trainer Bud Klokstad, who collected a record 31st stakes win at Emerald in the Seattle Slew. "I'm not concerned about the distance anymore, and I'm really not too concerned about him getting out, either. He has always had a tendency to get out a little, but it's not a big problem if the rider makes an effort to keep him in."

A more substantial worry could be Flying Notes' reaction if he is denied the lead, since all four of his career wins have come in front-running performances, but Klokstad feels that is a function of circumstance.

"He has usually broken on top, but once last year he broke really slowly and came running to be beaten a head," he noted. "I'm not sure he won't run better from off the pace, although with his speed he'll never be far away. On the other hand, if I wanted to send him I think they'd have an awful hard time keeping up with him. They wouldn't be around at the end, I can tell you that."

Klokstad purchased Flying Notes for owners Ruth and Johnny Lewis from the 2000 Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association summer yearling sale, which has been the source for many of the trainer's previous stakes winners. Unlike most of the others, who were strapping individuals, Flying Notes is decidedly undersized.

"To tell you the truth, I was hoping he would grow," said the trainer. "I liked everything else about him, but he was definitely small, and that's probably why we got him for $27,000.

"He didn't grow much, but it turned out he had an enormous stride for a small horse, so it really didn't matter. Runners come in all different sizes, and he's a runner."

Stakes for Slew's Carousel

Slew's Carousel, a candidate for claimer of the meeting, will start in the Tacoma Handicap on Sunday, but earlier in the week it wasn't clear whether he would go in the Tacoma or in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race for 3- and 4-year-olds.

"I'd prefer to go in the allowance race if it fills," said trainer Frank Lucarelli on Thursday morning. "My feeling is that there are two or three really good 3-year-olds on the grounds, and I'd just as soon avoid them for as long as I can.

"I'm sure my owners would rather go in the stakes, though, and we may end up having to run him there if the allowance doesn't fill. We're all anxious to see if he'll route. We already know he can sprint."

Slew's Carousel, a son of Slewdledo, won his debut for a $12,500 claiming price in April for trainer Tim McCanna, and Charles Essex claimed him out of that race. Essex entered him back for $16,000 in May and he won again, but Lucarelli claimed him that day for owners Ron Maus and Bob Wagner. In two starts for Lucarelli, Slew's Carousel ran third after falling far back early in an allowance race, then won his last outing on the $32,000 claiming level by more than six lengths with 6 1/2 furlongs in a sparkling 1:15.20.

"I had a horse I liked in his first race, but he just buried us that day," recalled Lucarelli. "When Charlie entered him back for $16,000 I just thought he'd be worth the money, but he has turned out better than I hoped he would. I'm still not sure he is stakes quality, but maybe we'll find that out on Sunday. I'd rather not run him in there, but if I have to run him and he wins I'll look like a genius. And, of course, I'll take all the credit."

o Trainer Sharon Ross reported that Secret Launch still has not returned to the track since being scratched from the Independence Day Handicap with a bruised hoof. Ross said her goal was to have the Budweiser-Emerald Handicap winner ready for the 6 1/2-furlong Governor's Handicap on Aug. 4.

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