05/11/2005 12:00AM

Jade Peony seeks third win of meet

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CALGARY, Alberta - Jade Peony faces six other older fillies and mares at Stampede Park Friday in search of her third consecutive victory at this meet. Jade Peony should be favored, despite moving up another notch in class.

Jade Peony, a 7-year-old, looks as good as ever and has proved to be an astute claim by trainer Ron Grieves, who took her on behalf of Bar None Ranches off a winning effort for a $22,000 tag on April 13.

She followed that easy win with an even more impressive four-length tally against $30,000 company under returning rider Rickey Walcott.

Grieves takes no chance of losing Jade Peony on Friday in the optional claimer, with only Galaxy Belle opting to run for the $40,000 price in the six-furlong race.

Seven of Jade Peony's 11 wins have come at six furlongs, and a strong five-furlong work in 1:00.60 on May 4 further enhances her appeal.

Jade Peony breaks from post 6 and can expect to be challenged early by Galaxy Belle, who drew the outside post.

Galaxy Belle faded in her 2005 debut in an open-allowance sprint, but trainer Dale Saunders has put two strong works on her tab since that outing. Leading jockey Quincy Welch will ride.

Trainer Rod Heggie saddles the entry of Robyn's Request and Catfish Alley, and both runners should be forwardly placed in the early going.

Banjo Babe, Sounce a Silence, and Moe's Hoedown are the closers.