04/29/2004 11:00PM

Bold 'n Keen should have speed edge

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - All six horses entered in the $40,000 George Royal Stakes, a 6 1/2-furlong race at Hastings, are proven stakes horses. What sets Roscoe Pito, Lord Nelson, and Bold 'n Keen apart is they were all awarded local championship honors last year. On top of his 3-year-old title, Roscoe Pito was named horse of the year.

Bold 'n Keen, however, could have the edge Sunday. He was the best sprinter in the province last year and started 2004 with a solid win in a tough field of allowance horses that included multiple stakes winner Kalfaari.

Bold 'n Keen came back with a very easy half-mile breeze in 49.80 seconds April 28. His trainer, Rob VanOverschot, thinks he can handle the other two champions.

"He's a pure sprinter, while Roscoe Pito and Lord Nelson are probably looking at bigger fish to fry," said VanOverschot. "We're going with the same sprint-only plan this year, and this was one of the races we were pointing to."

Bold 'n Keen will be ridden by David Wilson.

Roscoe Pito drew the rail and will likely be sent to the lead, where he should face stiff pressure from Commodore Craig. Lord Nelson, who finished a nose behind Diglett in this race last year, looked very sharp in his final prep, a bullet half-mile move in 46.20.

The George Royal will go as the third race.

Also on Sunday's card is the $40,000 Fair Lady stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Regal Red figures to be a solid favorite over seven other horses, including Sadie Diamond winner She's a Bombshell.