07/04/2007 11:00PM

Welken looks fit for return

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By DENNIS DODGE

AUBURN, Wash. - Welken, who placed in a stakes here last season at 2, will make her 3-year-old debut in Saturday's Emerald Downs feature, a six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies to be run under $40,000 optional claiming conditions.

Welken, a daughter of Sky Classic from the barn of trainer Steve Bullock, finished third to Judicature and stablemate Jacolatt when making her second start in last year's Angie C. Stakes at six furlongs. She returned to defeat maiden special weight rivals at 6 1/2 furlongs, then ran sixth in the $100,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes at a mile before going to the sidelines.

Though she has not raced since Sept. 3, Welken posted a trio of six-furlong drills in June, including bullet workouts in 1:12.20 and 1:12.40, and she figures to be more than fit. Nate Chaves will ride at 118 pounds.

Welken, a stretch runner, figures to have plenty of pace to target with several potential pacesetters in the field. Broker's Risk might be quickest of the quick, as she has led at the first call in eight of her 10 career starts, three of which she has won. Broker's Risk, trained by Howard Belvoir, is one of two multiple winners in the field who must race for the $40,000 tag.

Retreat After Me, trained by Doris Harwood, is the field's other multiple winner. Retreat After Me has won 3 of 8 starts, including a first-level allowance at a mile in her last start on June 23.