06/14/2007 11:00PM

Westsideclyde out to stay on top


AUBURN, Wash. - Westsideclyde, who graduated for a $10,000 tag just a little more than a year ago, ascended to the top of the handicap division at Emerald Downs with a victory in the 6 1/2-furlong FSN Handicap on May 28.

Now he'll try to stay there.

Westsideclyde, a 5-year-old son of Old Topper who has won 6 of 11 starts for trainer Craig Roberts, will head a field of 10, including an owner coupling, in Sunday's $60,000 Budweiser Emerald Handicap at a mile. Westsideclyde posted a win and a close second in two tries at a mile last year, and is coming into Sunday's stakes off a convincing 2 1/2-length score in the FSN. His lone work since the FSN was an extremely slow half-mile in 52.40 seconds on Tuesday, but Roberts said he was not concerned.

"I'm not one to worry too much about the final times for workouts," said the trainer. "All I wanted was for him to finish strongly, and he did that. He went the last eighth in 12 seconds, and I was happy with that."

Westsideclyde might get his sternest challenge from Norm's Nephew, who in his last two starts finished fifth, beaten three lengths, in the six-furlong Seattle Handicap and third, beaten 2 3/4 lengths, in the FSN. Norm's Nephew, a 5-year-old son of Jazzing Around from the barn of trainer Jimmy Orr, enjoyed his best success last year around two turns. He was a good second to R. Associate in last season's renewal of the Budweiser Emerald, and won the Muckleshoot Tribal Classic at 1 1/16 miles.

The Ron Crockett-owned entry of The Great Face and Don'twritemeoff also holds appeal, as the front-running The Great Face and the deep closer Don'twritemeoff form a potent one-two punch. The Great Face, who is trained by Tom Wenzel, equaled the North American dirt record for 5 1/2 furlongs in his 5-year-old debut on April 20, and is coming off a game second to Westsideclyde in the FSN. The Great Face demonstrated his ability to get a mile as a 3-year-old, when he won a $40,000 optional claiming race at the distance by four lengths.

Don'twritemeoff, a 5-year-old son of Silver Ghost who is trained by Pat Mullens, finished sixth in the Seattle and fourth in a 6 1/2-furlong optional claimer on June 3. He has basically been biding his time while waiting for more distance, however, as all of his best races have come around two turns.