06/30/2007 12:00AM

Class drop for Virtuous Lady after losses

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Virtuous Lady looks like the one to beat in the feature race on Monday's holiday card at Hastings, a $35,000 optional claiming race for fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs. Dance Odyssey, making her first start since finishing unplaced as the favorite in the Sadie Diamond Futurity last September, is the lone 3-year-old in the six-horse field.

Virtuous Lady should find this group easier to deal with than the likes of Monashee and Starlite Strike. Trained by John Snow, Virtuous Lady forced the pace before tiring to finish fifth in the Senate Appointee Stakes won by Monashee on May 26, then ran a similar race to finish fifth behind Starlite Strike in a $50,000 optional claiming race June 10. Both races were 6 1/2 furlongs.

Although she was overmatched in her last two starts, Virtuous Lady was moved up to first via disqualification in a $50,000 optional claiming race May 6. A similar effort here would probably make her the winner. Richard Hamel has the mount.

There is an abundance of speed in the field, and if Lady Raj adapts to her new surroundings she could make some noise in the stretch. In her latest start, Lady Raj finished fourth in an entry-level allowance race on grass at Aqueduct on April 22. She was subsequently sold privately to Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella, who have transferred her to trainer Troy Taylor.