07/08/2002 11:00PM

Whatamate plummets seeking win

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AUBURN, Wash. - Whatamate, once a highly regarded prospect, will plummet to the $8,000 claiming level in an attempt to score his second career victory in Thursday's six-furlong feature at Emerald Downs.

Whatamate, a 5-year-old son of Rehaan and Sunrise River, by Barbaric Spirit, is a half-brother to five stakes winners, including $364,699 earner Staff Rider and $292,347 earner Harmony Creek. As such, he was given an opportunity to win a stakes in his debut here at 3, and then was entered against maiden special weight company in northern California and high-priced maidens in Southern California and Emerald. But he did not win a race until he defeated $12,500 winners in his 10th career start here on May 9 - running the 6 1/2 furlongs in a rapid 1:15.80.

Whatamate came back to run fifth in his first try at a mile against $16,000 company May 27, which apparently prompted trainer Mark Molina and owners Logan Garrison and Savario Farm to cut the claiming price in half on Thursday. Severe as the drop may seem, it was slated to be even more drastic. Whatamate was entered as part of a stable coupling for a $5,000 tag on Saturday, but came out of that race at scratch time.

Still, Whatamate figures to be favored over eight rivals on Thursday.

Real True Spirit is Whatamate's main threat. Real True Spirit has shown speed versus open company in his most recent outings, and should like the more restrictive conditions in Thursday's race, limited to non-winners of two other than maiden races.

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