09/28/2006 11:00PM

'Westside' tries to close meet in style


Westsideclyde seeks his sixth victory of the meeting in the $20,000 Colterkind starter handicap on Sunday's closing-day card at Emerald Downs. A one-mile race, the Colterkind drew a field of 10 horses who have started for $15,000 or less in 2005-06.

The Colterkind is one of six starter handicaps Sunday whose purses have been enhanced by the Stanislaw Ashbaugh law firm. Together, the races form the Stanislaw Ashbaugh Claiming Challenge, which is designed to reward claiming horses, the backbone of most race meets.

Westsideclyde isn't an ordinary claimer. Although he made his first start at the meeting against $10,000 maidens and followed that race with a victory over $17,500 rivals, he has since posted three consecutive daylight wins over high-level optional claiming company, earning a Beyer Speed Figure as high as 99. Westsideclyde is coming off a 5 1/2-length victory over optional $32,000 claimers at a mile Sept. 9, when he covered the distance in 1:35. Westsideclyde is 5 for 6 at the meet and is expected to go off as a strong favorite despite conceding from six to 16 pounds to his rivals.

The closing day card also includes the traditional Owners Handicap. The race allows owners to weight their own horses through their selection of riders, meaning the contestants will carry their riders' weights only. Starbird Road, a winner of three sprint stakes at the stand, will head a field of six in the five-furlong dash.