09/29/2005 11:00PM

Washington-breds get a run at big money


AUBURN, Wash. - Six stakes worth a total of $250,000 are on Sunday's Washington Cup Day undercard, headed by the Muckleshoot Tribal Classic.

A total of 49 Washington-breds are entered in the seven stakes.

Sharing the top purse of $50,000 with the Classic is the 1 1/16-mile Belle Roberts Stakes, with a field of six fillies and mares.

Three Hastings Park-based runners - La Belle Fleur, Brave Miss, and Unquestionable - will take on three locals, headed by the razor-sharp Halonator, who will be seeking her eighth straight score. Halonator, a 4-year-old daughter of Delineator trained by Dan Markle, began her streak against modest $4,000 claimers in April, but she is coming off a score over allowance rivals at a mile and seems ready to compete with the best statebreds in her division.

The $40,000, Chinook Pass Sprint has also drawn a field of six. The field for the six-furlong race includes the top female sprinter on the grounds, Marva Jean, and the promising 3-year-old Wasserman.

Starbird Road and Diamond View are expected to vie for favoritism in the Chinook Pass, however. Starbird Road, a 4-year-old from the barn of trainer Sharon Ross, has been regarded as one of the sharpest sprinters on the grounds, since scoring impressive wins in allowance company in his last two starts. In his most recent start, on Sept. 3, Starbird Road ran six furlongs in 1:08.20 to earn a Beyer Speed Figure of 98, the top number in the field by far.

While Starbird Road will be making his stakes debut on Sunday, Diamond View won the six-furlong Old Glory Stakes on July 4 and came back with a sharp second to eventual Longacres Mile winner No Giveaway in the 6 1/2-furlong Governor's Handicap on July 31. He will be returning to a sprint after failing to stay the mile in a $25,000 starter allowance race on Sept. 11.

Ten 3-year-olds will go in the $40,000 Trooper Seven Stakes at a mile. The Trooper Seven might well be the most competitive stakes on the card, as a plausible case could be made for each of the entrants. The one they all must catch, however, is Cowboy Cruisser, who will break from the outside post.

Cowboy Cruisser, a son of Slewdledo trained by Richard Wright, burst onto the scene with a 13 3/4-length victory against $15,000 claimers in his route debut on Aug. 21.

Wheeled back in the $100,000 Emerald Derby on Sept. 6, Cowboy Cruisser recovered from a slow start to set the pace through six furlongs in 1:10.60 before tiring from his early efforts.

The filly counterpart for the Trooper Seven, the $40,000 John and Kitty Fletcher Stakes at a mile, will match divisional leader Queenledo against rising star Roanaway Bride and five others.

Queenledo, trained by Tim McCanna, has three wins and a second from four starts in stakes company this year at Emerald, and she is coming off a bang-up second in the B.C. Oaks at Hastings Park on Sept. 4.

Roanaway Bride, a lightly raced daughter of Runaway Groom from the barn of trainer Doris Harwood, has won 3 of 6 starts this season, including two sharp wins in allowance company at 6 1/2 furlongs. In her lone mile try at the meet, she ran a creditable fourth to older rivals in the $100,000 Emerald Distaff on Longacres Mile Day, Aug. 21.

Tusko T. will head a field of seven 2-year-old colts and geldings in the $40,000 Captain Condo Stakes at six furlongs. Tusko T. a son of You and I trained by Howard Belvoir, won both of his sprint tries at the meeting, including the six-furlong Emerald Express on July 30.

He was victimized by an extremely wide trip in his most recent try, in the one-mile WTBA Lads on Sept. 11, when he tired and finished sixth.

The filly counterpart to the Captain Condo, the $40,000 Diane Kem Stakes at six furlongs, has a field of seven, headed by Cinderella Liberty and Nite Moon, the one-two finishers in the 6 1/2-furlong Knights Choice Stakes on Aug. 20.

Also dangerous is She's All Silk, who is coming off a third in the one-mile Barbara Shinpoch Stakes on Sept. 10.

Raising money for Mercado

Tickets will go on sale this weekend for a special screening of a new movie to benefit injured jockey Victor Mercado.

Mercado, 52, suffered spinal cord injuries in a spill at Emerald Downs on Labor Day and remains hospitalized at Harbor View Medical Center with partial paralysis.

The special screening of "Dreamer," a racing-themed movie directed by John Gains and starring Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning, will be held at the Majestic Bay Theatre in Seattle at 8 p.m. on Oct. 24.

Tickets are available in the Quarter Chute Cafe and on the frontside for a minimum donation of $50. Trainers Doris Harwood and Diane Snowden also have tickets on the backside. Proceeds from the event will go to the Victor Mercado Relief Fund.

Other events to benefit Mercado, including a dance and spaghetti dinner following the last race on the final day of the meeting, Oct. 16, are in the planning stages.