09/03/2004 11:00PM

'Texan' has work cut out in derby

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AUBURN, Wash. - Flamethrow-intexan will put a five-race win streak on the line when he takes on six other 3-year-olds in Monday's $100,000 Emerald Breeders' Cup Derby at 1 1/8 miles.

The front-running Flamethrow-intexan began his streak with three straight sprint scores over high claiming company at Hollywood Park in the spring. He was claimed for $62,500 out of the last of those wins by trainer Jim Penney for Grasshopper Stable on June 24, and he has since won at Emerald in the 1 1/16-mile Seattle Slew Handicap and in an allowance prep Aug. 15.

Flamethrowintexan's chances may be jeopardized by the presence of Never Surrender, who also possesses brilliant speed. Never Surrender made a winning debut here last season at the $8,000 level. He won at the $25,000 claiming and allowance levels last spring at Bay Meadows, and he recently returned to run second in Del Mar's $100,000 Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 6.

Random Memo led throughout to win the one-mile Tacoma Handicap here on June 27. Those who expect to see him knocking heads early with Flamethrowintexan and Never Surrender should not hold their breath, according to trainer Aubrey Villyard.

"There is no way I want him to be going head and head with Flamethrowintexan, especially coming off a layoff," said Villyard.

Villyard reported that Random Memo missed two weeks of training with a bruised hoof after the Tacoma.