07/01/2005 11:00PM

Wasserman lone single in pick four


AUBURN, Wash. - Monday's Independence Day Sprint Festival at Emerald Downs comes complete with a $25,000 guaranteed pick four on the four featured overnight handicaps, and players may have a hard time deciding which of three strong favorites to single.

The choice here is Wasserman in the 5 1/2-furlong Stars and Stripes for 3-year-olds. Undefeated in two starts, Wasserman demonstrated he can withstand severe pace pressure when he dueled through a fast half-mile and then drew away to beat allowance rivals on June 12. He can take another step forward Monday and looks rock-solid.

It's tempting to single the entry of Marva Jean and Melba Jewel in the six-furlong Betsy Ross for

fillies and mares as well, but Marva Jean has posted declining Beyer Speed Figures through three straight wins. Trainer Frank Lucarelli hopes a recent freshening will stop the slide, but it's safest to include sprint specialist Star Amethyst as a backup.

Another possible single is Salt Grinder in the six-furlong Old Glory for older males, as he looked super winning his 6-year-old debut by five lengths. Commodore Craig is also a quality sprinter, however, and No Giveaway has the look of an improver. Best to take all three.

The 5 1/2-furlong Red, White, and Blue for 3-year-old fillies is the most wide-open of the four races, so the play is to go four deep with No Fences, Roanaway Bride, Breezing Louise, and Cryptic Memo.

In program order, from races 7 through 10, that's a 1x2x4x3 ticket costing $24.