09/09/2003 11:00PM

Lucarelli sends two contenders

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AUBURN, Wash. - Trainer Frank Lucarelli will play a strong hand in Friday's Emerald Downs feature, a six-furlong race for Washington-bred 3-year-old fillies eligible to be claimed for $20,000 to $18,000.

Lucarelli, who ranks third in the trainer standings with 34 wins, will saddle two of the six fillies entered, Freetobeme and Zairsaplan, and both come into the race off strong efforts in a $16,000 claiming race on Aug. 16.

Freetobeme, who is shooting for her fourth win at the Emerald meet, was claimed by Lucarelli for owner Ron Maus out of her second-place finish to Run Free in that race, which was run in 1:16.20 for 6 1/2 furlongs. Freetobeme led through six furlongs in 1:09.40 and should appreciate Friday's cutback in distance. She gets in under 108 pounds with apprentice Jocyln Kenny-Martin taking over the mount.

Zairsaplan finished third to Run Free and Freetobeme last time out, making a menacing midrace move before flattening out to be beaten 2 1/2 lengths. Gallyn Mitchell dropped the whip entering the stretch that day. Mitchell again rides at 115 pounds.

Three other entrants - Dashing Lady, Afleetilation and Dear Deputy - are coming out of a 6 1/2- furlong race for $25,000 claimers on August 29 which was won by Tejati in 1:15.60. Dashing Lady got up for second, beaten a half-length, while Dear Deputy faded to fourth and Afleetilation tired to finish sixth after dueling through a quick half-mile.

Best Practices was outdueled by Dear Deputy when last in action on Aug. 14, but has won twice at the meet, for tags of $16,000 and $25,000.