05/26/2009 11:00PM

Two shots for Harwood in Emerald allowance

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AUBURN, Wash. - Six promising 3-year-olds are scheduled to compete Friday in the feature race at Emerald Downs, an $18,000 second-level allowance at six furlongs. The feature is the seventh of eight races on a card that begins at 6 p.m.

Enumerator, already a stakes winner at Emerald and the only two-time winner in the field, figures to be a popular choice in the wagering. Trained by Doris Harwood for owner Herman Sarkowsky, Enumerator won the $45,000 Strong Ruler Stakes last August, the final start of his 2-year-old season. Laid up for eight months, he returned to the races in late April and ran a distant fourth behind stablemate Noosa Beach in the Auburn Stakes. Juan Gutierrez, who was aboard Enumerator for both of his victories in 2008, has the mount.

Harwood has another top contender in Friday's race: Proud Nicholas was a close second in a first-level allowance race in his most recent start and seems to be sitting on a big effort. Proud Nicholas set the pace for six furlongs in the $90,000 Gottstein Futurity last September before fading to finish sixth. Owned by Frank Gaunt, Proud Nicholas will be ridden by Saul Arias.

Three horses will be making their first start against winners. Kentucky-bred Edgerin J engaged in a race-long speed duel while winning his first career start for trainer Jim Penney on May 10. Kentucky-bred McNaughty rallied from off the pace to beat a strong field of $30,000 maiden claimers in his first start for trainer Frank Lucarelli on April 25. And Born'n Blue Jeans, a $15,000 yearling purchase at the 2007 Washington summer sale, got up to beat $17,500 maidens for trainer Vann Belvoir on May 3.

The race's other runner is Last Time Around, a Tale of the Cat gelding who defeated $20,000 maiden claimers at Golden Gate Fields in his first career start in March. The Lucarelli trainee finished third on May 8 in his most recent race, a $40,000 starter allowance on the Golden Gate turf course.

Racing continues through the weekend as Emerald Downs completes the busiest part of its schedule (eight cards in 10 days). On tap Sunday is the $50,000 Pepsi-Cola Handicap, the second stakes of the season for 3-year-olds and a key stepping-stone to the $75,000 Emerald Downs Derby on Labor Day. Noosa Beach, a front-running winner of the six-furlong Auburn Stakes in late April, tops the list of 13 nominees for the 6-1/2-furlong Pepsi-Cola. Others named include Mayor Marv, who won the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby for owner Mike Pegram, and Almost Time, winner of the Jack Diamond Futurity at Hastings Racecourse last summer.