06/17/2004 12:00AM

Two stakes winners try to rebound


AUBURN, Wash. - Alfurune and Knightsbridge Road, both stakes winners over this track last season, will face off in Saturday's one-mile allowance feature at Emerald Downs.

Alfurune won last season's 1 1/16-mile Independence Day Handicap and placed in four other stakes to rank as one of the top older runners on the grounds. Now 6, Alfurune has yet to regain his best form in two starts at this stand, finishing fifth to Knightsbridge Road in a six-furlong allowance on May 7 and then running 10th in the 6 1/2-furlong Fox Sports Net Handicap on May 23. Trainer Diane Garrison said there was a reason for his subpar effort in the stakes.

"There were some problems with the blood work we had done after that race," she said. "He just wasn't right. We think we've got him back on track now, but we want to make sure before we ask him to take on stakes company again."

Both Alfurune and Knightsbridge Road were nominated for Sunday's $75,000 Budweiser Emerald Handicap at a mile, as were Team Zachary and Mr. Makah, who also opted for Saturday's allowance. Rounding out the quality-laden field of eight are local stakes winners Condotierri and Road Afleet, plus Tamper and Bomartini.

Knightsbridge Road was named the track's top 3-year-old last season after winning the Table Run Stakes and placing in six other added-money events. Trained by Debbie Van Horne, Knightsbridge Road has won one of three starts this season, winning a six-furlong allowance in 1:09.60 before finishing seventh last time out in the Fox Sports Net Handicap.