08/12/2003 12:00AM

Tejati gets a perfect setup

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AUBURN, Wash. - When it comes to pace handicapping, the rule of thumb is to go against the flow.

Lots of closers in the field? Look for a front-runner.

Lots of speed horses? Look for a closer.

The latter dictum would seem to apply to Thursday's Emerald Downs feature, which matches seven 3-year-old fillies, each eligible to be claimed for $25,000 or $20,000, at six furlongs. Four of the fillies - Dashing Lady, Only Way, Best Practices, and Dear Deputy - have done all of their winning from right up on the pace. Two others - K D Implosion and Enlighting - have scored from just off the early leaders.

That leaves Tejati as the only real stretch-runner in the field, and as such she is a threat to repeat her last-gasp victory over $16,000 rivals in her last race on Aug. 1. In that race, which was her first for red-hot trainer Richard Wright, Tejati raced far off a rapid early pace, then closed with a rush under rider Ben Russell to prevail by a neck over Freetobeme in 1:09.40 for six furlongs.

Wright has again named Russell to ride Tejati, at 117 pounds.

Thursday's headliner will mark the local debut of Enlighting, an Ontario-bred daughter of Silver Deputy. Enlighting has won three of 12 starts in Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas, and she is coming off back-to-back scores over $10,000 rivals at Lone Star Park. She was claimed out of both of those wins, and she will race for Monogram Stable and trainer Margo Lloyd, who has named Gallyn Mitchell to ride at 117 pounds.