Updated on 09/17/2011 10:42AM

Three will go straight to the front

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AUBURN, Wash. - There will be only five horses in Friday's featured eighth race at Emerald Downs, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds eligible to be claimed for $32,000, but there will be no shortage of speed.

Mr. Elusive, Personal Plan, and Linear Lights, all front-running winners already at this meeting, figure to stage a lively battle for the early lead. Mr. Elusive, a winner over optional $50,000 company in his first try at the meet on April 20, beat Personal Plan to the front when both raced most recently, in another $50,000 optional claimer on May 12, but both paid a price for attending a contested pace.

Mr. Elusive tired to finish fourth after leading through a half-mile in 45 seconds, while Personal Plan, who was coming off a gate-to-wire win over maiden special weight company, faded after pressing the action from the inside and wound up fifth behind Passanova, who came from far back to win in 1:16.20 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

Linear Lights should add fuel to the pace fire off his wire-to-wire victory over maiden special weight company on opening day, April 19. Linear Lights, a Delineator gelding from the barn of trainer Terry Gillihan, went 5 1/2 furlongs in a swift 1:03.60 to score by an authoritative two lengths that day, but he has not raced since then.

Torrid fractions can only benefit Right You Are, who scratched out of a mile race for $25,000 claimers on Thursday to run in Friday's feature, and Dark Intent. Right You Are has demonstrated good versatility in posting 4 wins from 13 starts, while Dark Intent is coming off a win over $25,000 maiden claimers on May 25, when he got six furlongs in 1:10.40.