06/10/2004 11:00PM

Sariano one to beat in Irish Day

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AUBURN, Wash. - Sariano will head a field of nine 3-year-old fillies in Sunday's one-mile, $50,000 Irish Day Handicap at Emerald Downs.

Sariano, a daughter of Rubiano who races for Dr. Rodney Orr, will carry high weight of 119 pounds on the strength of her last-to-first victory in last month's 6 1/2-furlong Federal Way Handicap. Once again, leading jockey Ricky Frazier will ride.

The Federal Way runner-up, Sandia's Flicka, will race at Hastings on Sunday, but third-place finisher Overact will be back for another crack at Sariano. Overact, a Sir Cat filly trained by Grant Forster, was beaten only 1 1/2 lengths while making her seasonal debut in the Federal Way. Last year, Overact was twice stakes-placed from four starts at Hastings.

Forster will also saddle Sala de Oro, last season's champion 2-year-old filly at Emerald. Sala de Oro has been a disappointment thus far at 3, finishing fourth in the six-furlong US Bank Stakes before running seventh in the Federal Way, but Forster said he feels a better effort may be on tap.

"We've done a few things differently with her for this race, and she seems to be responding very well," he said. "We know she is capable. We just have to get it out of her."

Melba Jewel, coming off an 8 1/2-length win over allowance company, and Swingn' Notes, a route stakes winner at Golden Gate, also figure to contend.

* Emerald received permission from the Washington Horse Racing Commission to add Monday, July 5, to its racing schedule. The addition increases the current race meet to 90 days.