06/08/2004 11:00PM

Beau's Diva ready to begin rise

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CALGARY, Alberta - After five career starts, Beau's Diva, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Beau Genius out of the stakes-winning dam Shaniah, has yet to fulfill the high expectations her breeding warrants.

In Friday's feature, a $17,000 entry-level allowance at six furlongs, Beau's Diva is afforded an opportunity to take a step in that direction.

With leading rider Quincy Welch accepting the call from trainer Dale Saunders, Beau's Diva is expected to be on or near the lead from the rail.

Trainer Rod Haynes saddles the entry of Madlyn Elise and Speedfast for Calmar Stables and Ranch.

Madlyn Elise won her maiden last time out under jockey Craig Faine, who has impressed of late after arriving here early in the meet from his home base of Tampa Bay Downs. Faine has the return call aboard Madlyn Elise, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Honor Grades who will be rolling late.

Speedfast, second in the Freedom of the City last fall at Northlands Park, has only a pair of seconds to show from five starts at this meet.

* Friday's card comes on the eve of the two most important races for older horses at this meet.

On Saturday, Raylene and A Shaky Start will renew their rivalry in the 31st running of the 1 1/16-mile Duchess of York. Northern Neechitoo is the only other entrant.

Sunday's 42nd running of the $50,000 Herald Gold Plate is expected to attract a large contingent, including Teeworth Plate winner Deputy Country.