05/30/2001 11:00PM

'Illusion' seems to be worth price

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CALGARY, Alberta - Regal Illusion is out to prove to owners Ken Forbes and John Walker and trainer Brian Walper that she was worth the $5,500 they spent at Northlands Park last October under most unusual circumstances.

The group acquired Regal Illusion after dropping a claim for her on closing weekend of the 2000 Alberta season, but Walper had to win a shake over 21 rivals.

The number of claims entered was a record for this jurisdiction and caught officials off guard, forcing them to go to an improvised system to determine that Walper would take home Regal Illusion, a daughter of Regal Remark.

So far the investment shows promise, as Regal Illusion closed strongly against $15,000 claimers May 19 to grab third place in her first start for her new connections.

The race should serve Regal Illusion as an ideal prep for Friday's sixth race, which attracted eight fillies and mares entered for $15,000.

Regal Illusion rated kindly in her 2001 debut at this six-furlong distance and was full of run when finishing just 1 1/4 lengths back of Jazzfield.

The likelihood of speedsters Excel in Silence and Artemis setting quick fractions here further enhances the chances of Regal Illusion, who will break from post 7 and figures to settle in midpack under rider Real Simard.

* Earlier on Friday's seven-race program, the promising Wartock, from the shed row of leading trainer R. K. (Red) Smith, will face five 3-year-old rivals in a six-furlong allowance for nonwinners of two.