07/26/2004 11:00PM

Blue Tejano looks ready for top effort


AUBURN, Wash. - Track record holder Blue Tejano is the one to beat in Thursday's feature at Emerald Downs, a six-furlong race for $10,000 to $8,000 claimers that has drawn a field of eight.

Blue Tejano, a fragile but hugely talented 10-year-old from the barn of trainer Sharon Ross, established the track standard for six furlongs in June of 2002, when he sped the distance in 1:07.60 to defeat $20,000 company by more than four lengths. That was his last start in 2002, but he returned last season to race five times, defeating $12,500 company in 1:08.80 on July 13 in his lone win of the year.

Blue Tejano made his 10-year-old debut here on June 24 under the same conditions as Thursday's feature, and led into deep stretch before yielding late to Irish Tribute, who prevailed by a length in 1:09.60. Any improvement off that effort would make Blue Tejano difficult to deny on Thursday, when he will again be ridden by Adalberto Lopez at 119 pounds.

Right You Are might offer the most serious challenge to Blue Tejano. Right You Are, a 4-year-old son of Petersburg trained by Rick Lukenbill, posted a 6 1/2-length victory over $14,000 company here on June 5. He ran the 5 1/2 furlongs in the slop in 1:03.80. Right You Are came back to run an even fourth against $12,500 starter allowance company at six furlongs on June 17, when he may have bounced off his big effort.

Lukenbill gave Right You Are ample time to regroup before tuning him up with a sharp five-furlong drill in 1:00.20 last Saturday, so he could be set to rebound under Juan Gutierrez at 123 pounds.