06/17/2004 12:00AM

Fairmount: Favored entry vulnerable


COLLINSVILLE, Ill - Beau Watch and Valida, an entry from Kentucky-based trainer Eric Reed, will ship in as the 6-5 favorites for the $30,000 Ruffian Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies at Fairmount Park.

Despite Beau Watch and Valida's proven ability to handle Reed's affinity for moving them from track to track, doubts remain. While Valida has run steadily improving Beyer Speed Figures in 2004, her lack of speed may hinder her chances. Meanwhile, Beau Watch is coming off a sixth-place finish on April 3 at Keeneland, and neither horse has raced at Fairmount or at six furlongs.

Fairmount racing director Bobby Pace said he would have installed local standout Lady Riss as the favorite in this race had Lady Riss not opted out, reportedly to prep for the Purple Violet Stakes at Arlington Park next week.

Among the other contenders in the eight-horse field, Cart's Maybe So is a consistent and well-seasoned local sprinter who has won her last two six-furlong allowance races and three of her last four. But at morning line odds of 5-2, she doesn't hold as much parimutuel intrigue as Ho Joy (10-1), who blew away a May 18 Prairie Meadows field after moving there from Oaklawn Park; and Captain Valentine (6-1), an Edward Essenpreis-trained filly who won her maiden in impressive fashion two weeks after debuting with a third-place finish at Hawthorne on April 23.