04/16/2004 11:00PM

World record equaled at Emerald

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AUBURN, Wash. - Willie the Cat turned in a world record-equaling performance in Friday's opening day allowance feature at Emerald Downs, blazing 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:01.20 to win off by nearly eight lengths.

The clocking bettered Emerald's track record of 1:01.40 set by Salt Grinder in 2002 and tied the world mark established by Silvey's Image in 1992 and equaled by Plenty Zloty in 1995. Both of those times were registered at Turf Paradise.

Willie the Cat, a 5-year-old son of Delineator and Cozy Angie, set fractions of 21.20 and 43.40 under rider Ricky Frazier. He is owned by Emerald Downs president Ron Crockett, who bred Willie the Cat in Washington, and is trained by Tim McCanna.

Willie the Cat won his first three starts as a 3-year-old at Emerald Downs in spectacular fashion, but he had started only twice over the past 22 months owing to injuries. He has now won four of six starts for $35,118 in earnings.