09/19/2006 11:00PM

Improving filly tries elders again

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AUBURN, Wash. ? Secret Flame takes on her elders in Friday?s Emerald Downs feature, a $25,000 to $22,500 claiming test for fillies and mares at six furlongs.

Secret Flame, a 3-year-old daughter of General Meeting from the barn of trainer Aubrey Villyard, is coming off an authoritative 3 1/4-length score over $25,000 3-year-old fillies at a mile on Aug. 12. That was her first try around two turns, which may prove to be her best game, but she graduated going five furlongs against maiden special weight company last year. In her only previous try against her elders, Secret Flame finished fourth when racing for a $25,000 tag at six furlongs on June 24. She has had almost three months to mature since that race was run, however, and she appears to have improved considerably in the interim.

Just Chub outfinished Secret Flame when she ran third in the June 24 race, and she also finished a close third against $17,500 foes at 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 18. But she has since posted subpar efforts at the $17,500 and $15,000 claiming levels. The 4-year-old Just Chub raced very wide in both of those races, however, and could return to her best form with a ground-saving trip on Friday.

Also dangerous are Foxwood Belle, who fell just a neck short in a 6 1/2-furlong race for $17,500 claimers on Aug. 18, and Real Tickled, who graduated at the maiden special weight level here last season. She will be making her seasonal bow on Friday, and she has trained extremely well.