06/25/2002 11:00PM

It should be one Royal or the other


SASKATOON, Saskatchewan - A compact field of five 3-year old fillies will start Friday in the first stakes of the 2002 Marquis Downs meeting, the $5,000 Captain Stanley Harrison Handicap.

Heading the field is Royal Brittany, who won two stakes races last season, convincingly taking both the Saskatchewan and the Larry Lashyn futurities.

Royal Brittany's only loss in a stakes came at the hands of Royal Fractions, her main rival in this race, in the Woodland Heritage. Royal Brittany broke in the air in the Woodland, spotted Royal Fractions six lengths, and could close only to within 2 3/4 lengths at the wire.

In her only start this year, Royal Brittany finished second in a June 14 allowance sprint which was run at the same distance as the Harrison, six furlongs. She should be favored under jockey Rennie Latchman.

Leading trainer Tom Gardipy Jr. sends out Royal Fractions in search of the upset. Royal Fractions won both her starts here last year, including the Heritage race. As a 3-year-old, however, she has finished out of the money in two attempts.

First time out, against $7,500 claimers at Assiniboia Downs, Royal Fractions made the lead but faded to finish fourth when going five furlongs.

Last time, in the allowance race in which Royal Brittany finished second, Royal Fractions again made the lead but faded down the backstretch and wound up fourth, more than seven lengths behind the winner. Leading rider Serge Rocheleau picks up the mount.

The remainder of the field consists of Top Stage Dancer, a winner of both her starts in 2002, and the maidens Sound of Power and Superb Position.