07/04/2005 11:00PM

'Thiscat' out to snap seconditis


AUBURN, Wash. - Thiscatskrafty, who has run second in each of his last four starts, has a good chance to move up a notch when he takes on five rivals in Thursday's 6 1/2-furlong feature at Emerald Downs, which is for $7,500 starter allowance company.

The 5-year-old Thiscatskrafty began his string of runner-up finishes against $12,500 claimers at Bay Meadows on April 18, when he was claimed by trainer Frank Lucarelli. He again ran second against allowance company in his final Bay Meadows outing on

May 1, and has finished second in two local starts, against $5,000 starter allowance runners and $15,000 claimers.

A win is likely on Thursday because he is the apparent speed of the race and may be able to hang on after setting relatively slow fractions under Javier Ortega.

Execptional Game has tactical speed, however, and rider Navin Mangalee may take it upon himself to force Thiscatskrafty

into setting honest fractions. Execptional Game won three races against better company here last season as a 3-year-old. He became eligible for Thursday's conditions when trainer Rick Terry dropped him in for a $7,500 tag in his last start.

Should Thiscatskrafty and Execptional Game go too fast up front, the door will swing open for the closers, including West Seattle Boy. He finished fourth to Thiscatskrafty in his last outing on June 18, but he won his prior try going 6 1/2 furlongs against $10,000 company.