06/05/2003 11:00PM

Victor Slew has found right spot


AUBURN, Wash. - Victor Slew seems nicely spotted to score in Sunday's top offering at Emerald Downs, a 6 1/2-furlong race for $25,000 claiming horses. Six are in the field, each seeking a second career win.

Victor Slew is coming off a narrow miss under the same conditions on May 23. He made took the lead at the furlong marker and yielded late to the fast-finishing Wally Ballou. Victor Slew, a

4-year-old son of Vying Victor, was beaten a half-length in 1:16 and would be difficult to deny with a similar effort on Friday.

Trainer Frank Lucarelli, who claimed Victor Slew out of his most recent effort, has named leading jockey Kevin Radke to ride at 119 pounds.

If Victor Slew has an Achilles' heel it might be his late-running style, as the pace scenario for the race is uncertain. Recent maiden winners Catpasser and Skip's Star both won in wire-to-wire fashion, but neither appears to be a need-the-lead type and either could sit just off the other through moderate fractions.

Air Turbulence has the tactical speed to adjust to any pace. In his most recent outing, against $25,000 company on May 30, Air Turbulence remained within two lengths of the pace to the stretch, then closed to get second, beaten three-quarters of a length by Irish Tribute after six furlongs in 1:09.80.

Another possibility is Premium Blend, who comes off a pair of seconds against open $16,000 and $25,000 claimers. Premium Blend will be shortening up from a mile race, but should appreciate the move in with restricted company.