03/07/2003 12:00AM

Rivalry renewed in Santa Teresa

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SUNLAND PARK, N.M. - The $50,000 Santa Teresa Handicap for older fillies and mares at Sunland Park features a rematch between front-running Devious Way and the closer Cielo Girl.

In the six-furlong Czaria Handicap here Feb. 9, Devious Ways won wire to wire, but Cielo Girl was closing fast and was beaten only three-quarters of a length. The 6 1/2-furlong Santa Teresa gives Cielo Girl an extra sixteenth to catch Devious Ways.

Devious Ways, a Texas-bred 4-year-old, came into her own last summer with an impressive win in the Ruidoso Oaks. Freshened after that meet, she has dominated the female sprint division here, winning all three of her starts. She will carry 123 pounds, one more than her assignment in the Czaria,

Cielo Girl, owned by Ro Parra and trained by Steve Asmussen, should relish the added distance while carrying 121 pounds, the same as she did in the Czaria. Devious Ways and Cielo Girl bumped at the start of the Czaria, with Cielo Girl taking the worst of it. Six lengths back and in traffic at the stretch call of that race, Cielo Girl put in a furious late run as the 6-5 favorite.

Waveband, who finished third in the Czaria, drops a pound to 116, and will have veteran Joe Martinez in the saddle for the first time. A multiple stakes winner for owners Patrick Peteleski and O. D. McDonald, Waveband prompted Devious Ways three wide into the stretch but weakened late and was beaten beaten 2 1/4 lengths.