08/22/2006 12:00AM

Stalker has edge in speedy field


AUBURN, Wash. - Seven fillies and mares will contest Thursday's feature at Emerald Downs, a 5 1/2-furlong test for $20,000 claimers - and they all want the lead.

The contestants have combined to win 17 races, and 13 of those wins were gate-to-wire. The other four wins came from horses who were close to the pace. Thatsthewayluvgoes and Miz Mitzie picked up wins after coming from a half-length off the pace. Bold Tizzy also came from a half-length off the pace to win here June 30, and came from two lengths back to score last July.

Bold Tizzy's relative ability to stalk should give her an advantage Thursday, and it may also be an advantage that she has drawn the outside post. Regular rider Ben Russell should be able to keep her in the clear, if a bit wide, while her foes risk being shuffled back to an unaccustomed position unless they break in stride.

A 6-year-old trained by Dan Kenney, Bold Tizzy has seven career victories, including a score over $20,000 rivals two races back. In her most recent outing, Bold Tizzy showed the way before fading to third in a six-furlong test for $20,000 claimers on July 16.

Miz Mitzie finished close behind Bold Tizzy in each of Bold Tizzy's last two races. She has since raced twice against much tougher company, finishing third to $25,000 optional claimers at a mile July 29 and eighth to $40,000 optional claimers at 6 1/2 furlongs Aug. 13. Thursday's class drop should serve as a tonic for Miz Mitzie.