09/08/2003 11:00PM

'Why Not' should be long gone

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AUBURN, Wash. - If Not Why Not, a prolific winner who is on an uncharacteristic four-race losing streak, stretches out to a mile in Thursday's Emerald Downs feature, which drew eight older $10,000 claimers.

If Not Why Not, a winner of 11 of his 32 starts, won back-to-back sprints over $8,000 and $12,500 company in June, but has since been denied in two starts for $16,000 and two for $12,500, all sprints. Trainer and part-owner George Colello is making three significant changes on Thursday in an attempt to get the 7-year-old If Not Why Not back to the winner's circle.

First, he is dropping If Not Why Not another notch on the class ladder. Second, he is reuniting the gelding with jockey Kevin Murray, who was up for both of the June wins. And third, he is stretching If Not Why Not out to a route distance for the first time this year.

If Not Why Not finished second against $3,200 starter allowance company in his only prior try at a mile, which came last year. But he has won at 1 1/8 miles, taking the first leg of last year's marathon series, which was run under $10,000 starter allowance conditions. That race proved he can succeed around two turns under the right conditions, and those conditions may prevail on Thursday.

If Not Why Not appears to be the clear speed of Thursday's field, and his main rivals are stuck on the outside. Caller Pete and Old Duke Puffer, who finished first and second under the same conditions on Aug. 24, will break from posts 8 and 7, respectively.