11/27/2002 12:00AM

Two tough challengers to 'Emoswa'


PORTLAND, Ore. - Emoswa Gold shoots for a third straight win when racing resumes at Portland Meadows with a special Friday afternoon card that starts at 1 p.m.

Emoswa Gold heads a field of nine fillies and mares in the eighth race, a six-furlong race for open $6,250 claimers. The ultra-consistent Emoswa Gold has been first or second in her last six starts, including two races at this meeting, but she will be taking on open company for the first time on Friday.

After winning her maiden at Emerald Downs, Emoswa Gold bested nonwinners-of-two allowance rivals and $8,000 nonwinners-of-three in her local starts, leading throughout six furlongs on both occasions. She again appears to be the one to catch on Friday, when regular rider Ron Keckler will have the call from trainer Jim Fergason.

Emoswa Gold could be severely tested by Barmara and Abuelo, the one-two finishers in a six-furlong race for $5,000 claimers on Nov. 17.

Barmara, at 10-1, surged to the lead at the top of the stretch and drew out to a 2 1/2-length score in 1:12.71 under Flip Nollar, who rides again Friday. It was Barmara's sixth win from 13 starts.

Abuelo, a four-time winner who was coming off an easy win over $3,200 rivals, was too far back to threaten Barmara, but finished with a bold rush for second. Leading rider Juan Gutierrez inherits the mount from Keckler.

Also dangerous is Fahana, who drops in class after finishing seventh of nine in the six-furlong Diane Kem Handicap on Nov. 10.

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