09/04/2007 12:00AM

Dropping in class - but sensibly


AUBURN, Wash. - Light My Ducks looms as the one to beat in Thursday's Emerald Downs feature, a 5 1/2-furlong dash for $20,000 fillies and mares that has lured a field of eight.

Light My Ducks, a 5-year-old daughter of Basket Weave who races for K J Star Stable, was claimed by trainer Charles Essex out of her first start at the meeting for $15,000. Though she finished sixth that day, she ran off back-to-back sprint wins against $15,000 foes before being thrown into the stakes ranks, where she ran a surprisingly strong fourth in the July 28 Boeing Handicap at 1 1/16 miles. Returned to a sprint distance for her most recent outing on Aug. 18, Light My Ducks led $32,000 claimers to deep stretch before settling for second behind No Ka Oi.

She is dropping significantly in class for Thursday's engagement, yet she remains above her purchase price and retains her regular rider, Wilson Dieguez.

Light My Ducks figures to get her stiffest challenge from Don't Ignore Me, who is something of a 5 1/2-furlong specialist. Don't Ignore Me, a 5-year-old from the barn of trainer Larry Wolf, is 5 for 26 in her career, but she is 4 for 10 at 5 1/2 furlongs. Her wins at the distance include a victory over $25,000 rivals back in June, and she is coming off a strong third against $20,000 foes at 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 25.

Also dangerous is Queen Sarabi, who returned from a lengthy layoff to defeat $12,500 rivals at six furlongs here on Aug. 23. Though stepping up for trainer Bill Tollett, Queen Sarabi has a license to improve with a recent race under her girth.