05/26/2009 12:00AM

Two straight for Kruger Park

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AUBURN, Wash. - Kruger Park ran his Emerald Downs record to 2-for-2 with a front-running victory in the $50,000 FSN Handicap on Memorial Day. A 5-year-old Florida-bred by Johannesburg, Kruger Park completed 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.80 and held off Assessment to win by three-quarters of a length.

Claimed for $50,000 at Santa Anita in late March, Kruger Park has taken kindly to the dirt surface at Emerald Downs after racing primarily on turf in Southern California. Trained by Carlos Moreno and owned by his wife, Maria Isabel, Kruger Park has earned back most of the claiming price with victories in the Seattle Handicap in late April and now the FSN. The winner's share of $27,500 pushed his lifetime earnings to $197,954.

After engaging in a three-horse duel with Hastings Racecourse shippers Seminole Brave and Forest Prince, Kruger Park and jockey Javier Matias pushed clear at the top of the stretch and held on gamely to beat Assessment. Defending FSN winner Wasserman rallied to finish third in the field of 10.

The Morenos claimed Kruger Park with designs on the Grade 3, $300,000 Longacres Mile in mid-August. The next step toward the Northwest's richest race is the $50,000 Budweiser-Emerald handicap at one mile on June 21.