09/03/2002 11:00PM

Two fillies take huge class drop

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AUBURN, Wash. - Trainer Larry Pierce will saddle a pair in Friday's Emerald Downs feature, a six-furlong race for $32,000 juvenile fillies that has drawn a field of six.

Both of the Pierce trainees, who will race uncoupled because of separate ownership, are dropping out of stakes company and figure strongly on that basis. Tejati finished sixth of 10 in the July 7 Angie C. Stakes at six furlongs and has not been out since, though she has registered four useful interim works. Before her stakes try, Tejati scored her maiden win on the $32,000 level after being claimed by owner R.J. Kalina from her debut for $25,000.

Scarlet Tempest, the other Pierce-trained entrant, beat $16,000 maidens and $25,000 winners before venturing into the stakes ranks for the Barbara Shinpoch at a mile on Aug. 24, when she failed to enter contention and finished last. She should appreciate the class relief on Friday, as well as the return to a sprint distance.

Knightress Gem is the other double winner in the field. She posted front-running wins over $8,000 maidens and $16,000 winners in her last two starts, and may pose the strongest threat to the Pierce-trained duo. Knightress Gem meets other speed in the form of Hopeful Season and Hastings Park shipper Truly Special, but will have the shortest route home after breaking from the inside post.

The sleeper in the field could be Mavoreen, who just missed catching Knightress Gem in a six-furlong race for $16,000 claimers. Mavoreen closed ground while racing wide on Aug. 23, when a potent speed-rail bias was in effect.

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