06/30/2005 11:00PM

Weight won't stop 'Texan'

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AUBURN, Wash. - Flamethrowintexan was assigned 123 pounds for Sunday's $40,000 Independence Day Handicap at Emerald Downs, and even though his trainer, Jim Penney, figures it's too much weight for the 4-year-old's first stakes try against older horses, Flamethrowintexan looks up to the task.

The weight won't keep fans from making Flamethrowintexan an overwhelming choice in the 1 1/16-mile stakes, especially since he will face only three challengers.

Flamethrowintexan, a front-running son of Way West, earned his impost by winning 7 of his 11 starts last year, including wins in this track's Seattle Slew Handicap and in the Grade 3 B.C. Derby at Hastings Park. He has $368,813 in earnings.

He tuned up for Sunday's assignment with an easy three-length victory over $40,000 optional claimers on June 11, when he got 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.80 under regular Ricky Frazier, who again has the mount on Sunday.

Flamethrowintexan's accomplishments would be enough to make him a strong choice, but what makes him look almost invincible is that he is the clear speed, indeed the only real speed, in Sunday's compact field.

Flamethrowintexan will be challenged by Poker Brad (118 pounds), who has tactical speed and figures to be a clear second in the early going, and the stretch-running twosome of Mr. Makah (119) and Grafton Square (114).