07/18/2002 11:00PM

'Dixie' leads Canadian contingent


AUBURN, Wash. - Always a Dixie will lead a formidable quartet of Canadian invaders in Sunday's $40,000 Boeing Handicap for fillies and mares at Emerald Downs.

Always a Dixie, the 121-pound highweight in a field of nine for the 1 1/16-mile stakes, shipped in to win the last two added money race in the division, edging Neon Queen by a nose in the 6 1/2-furlong Washington State Legislators Handicap in May and by three quarters of a length in last month's one-mile King County Handicap.

Those were the first two stakes wins for Always a Dixie, a 5-year-old daughter of Dixieland Band. Once again, trainer Barbara Heads has named Ricky Frazier to ride.

Joining Always a Dixie for the trip south are Grey Tobe Free and Inish Glora, the one-two finishers in the recent Brighouse Belles Handicap at Hastings Park, and Lady's Jewel, a three-time stakes winner at Hastings last season.

Grey Tobe Free, who won the prestigious Ballerina Handicap last year in Vancouver, is the second-highweight at 119 pounds, while Lady's Jewel is next at 118 pounds.

Inish Glora will carry 117 pounds, the same weight given to Neon Queen and Graceful Cat, who represent the best local hopes.

Neon Queen won this track's Hastings Park Handicap at

6 1/2 furlongs before dropping the two close decisions to Always A Dixie. Graceful Cat made her seasonal debut in the Kent, finishing a close third after taking command in the upper stretch.

Last year at 3, Graceful Cat won the 1 1/16-mile Irish Day Handicap and the 1 1/8-mile Washington Oaks for trainer Sharon Ross, who has named Juan Gutierrez to ride.

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