09/05/2002 12:00AM

Lady Shari obvious Oaks pick


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Grade 1 winner Lady Shari heads a stellar field of 10 3-year-old fillies in the Grade 3, $175,000 British Columbia Breeders' Cup Oaks on Saturday at Hastings Park.

Elana d'Amour and Grace for You head the local contingent in the 1 1/8-mile stakes. Sweet Monarch, second to Lady Shari in the Canadian Derby, and Blue Moon Special, third in the Washington Breeders' Cup Oaks, help make this one of the strongest Oaks fields in recent history. All horses will carry 121 pounds. Post time for the first race of the 13-race card has been moved to 1:23 p.m.

Lady Shari was an easy seven-length winner of the Canadian Derby at Northlands Park in Edmonton and her overall record towers over the competition. She won the Grade 1 Mazarine Stakes at Woodbine last year and shipped to Aqueduct to close out her year with a second in the Grade 2 Demoiselle. She got off to a slow start this year but is very sharp right now. Anything close to her race in Alberta will land her in the winner's circle.

Elana d'Amour has won four stakes at the meet and was never really threatened while winning the Free Vacation Stakes by a length Aug. 24. Her owner, Gary Mayo-Dark Horse Stable, and trainer, Joe Apperloo, had never won a stakes race before this year.

"It's been a dream come true for both of us," said Apperloo. "We've been looking forward to this race since she won the Fair Lady Stakes opening day. I don't know much about the horse from Ontario [Lady Shari], but our filly worked a very strong five furlongs last week and I expect her to run a good race."

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