06/11/2001 11:00PM

'Ice Cream' well-served by hot pace

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AUBURN, Wash. - Ice Cream Social appears to have a slight edge over half a dozen rivals in Thursday's featured eighth race at Emerald Downs.

The race, at six-furlongs, is for $25,000 to $20,000 3-year-old fillies who have never won two races.

Several in Thursday's headliner are either dropping in search of their winning level or stepping up after sharp efforts against cheaper, but Ice Cream Social has been knocking at the door under Thursday's conditions. A daughter of Devil on Ice and trainer by Doris Harwood, she comes off a pair of runner-up efforts against $25,000 nonwinners-of-two competition at six furlongs, finishing less than a length behind From Venus on May 11 and less than two lengths behind Topaz 'n Jazz in her most recent outing on May 25.

Moreover, the stretch-running Ice Cream Social figures to benefit from a favorable pace scenario, as four of her rivals in the feature do their best running on the lead. Leading rider Ben Russell will have the task of timing Ice Cream Social's move on Thursday, when she will carry 117 pounds.

Of the front-runners, Sheza Jazzy Slew may have the best chance to shake lose early. Sheza Jazzy Slew, a Slewdledo filly from the barn of Tim McCanna, led throughout to defeat $40,000 maidens on April 29. Coming back in an allowance race on May 17, she dueled with Silver Echo and Primadonna Poppy through a half-mile in 45.20 seconds before tiring to finish sixth and last. With Thursday's drop in class, Sheza Jazzy Slew might not be so severely tested early.

Another possibility is Michelle's Cap, who appears to be on an improving pattern after defeating $12,500 company at Golden Gate and $16,000 rivals at Emerald in her last two outings.