09/12/2007 12:00AM

Tusko T. comes off narrow loss

EmailAUBURN, Wash. - Tusko T., a runner-up in his last three outings and in four of his last five, will try to move up a notch in Friday's 6 1/2-furlong feature at Emerald Downs. The $17,500 claiming race has attracted seven older horses.

Tusko T., a former stakes winner from the barn of trainer Howard Belvoir, is coming off a heartbreaking loss under identical conditions on Aug. 25. Tusko T. came from fourth position to forge to the front at midstretch, only to be caught by Gold Lad in the final stride. The top two finishers in that race were clocked in 1:14.80, and a similar performance on Friday should be good enough to win. Jennifer Whitaker again has the mount at 120 pounds.

Jamalouie figures to offer a strong challenge off his sharp current form. Jamalouie, a 4-year-old son of Louis Quatorze trained by Jim Penney, has a win and two seconds against $17,500 rivals in his last three outings. He closed strongly to just miss catching Slew Can Dance when last seen going six furlongs on Sept. 3, and he will probably appreciate the added sixteenth on Friday. Gallyn Mitchell will ride at 124 pounds.

Also a threat is Tougher'n Owljuice, a 4-year-old from the barn of trainer Junior Coffey. Tougher'n Owljuice comes off a win and a fifth at the $17,500 level in a pair of one-mile races and should be finishing strongly with Friday's cut-back in distance. He retains the services of leading jockey Ricky Frazier, who will ride at 124 pounds.