07/29/2001 11:00PM

Lady's Jewel shakes her hurtful habit


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Andrew Collins grew up among 17 brothers and sisters and there were plenty of occasions where at least some patience was required. Collins needed to use some of that patience bringing Lady's Jewel along, and it has paid off as she figures to be a solid favorite in the in the B.C. Cup Stallion Stakes this Sunday at Hastings Park.

One of the problems Collins faced with Lady's Jewel was that she was so excited about being on the track that she would expend most of her energy before a race began. "She was very precocious and she had a very hard time dealing with her speed," said Collins. "In fact, last year she was so fast in the mornings that she was hitting herself behind. I had Reg Peat make some adjustments on her shoes and now that she's not hitting herself, she's gained a lot of confidence. She's also become more focused since we've added blinkers, but the main thing is that she's not hitting herself anymore."

One of the other things that helped Lady's Jewel was stretching out to 1 1/16 miles. She has won both of the stakes here for 3-year-old fillies at the distance. The first time around two turns, she paid over $40 in the Liberation. After getting beat as the 4-5 favorite in the 6 1/2-furlong Emerald Handicap, she came right back to win the 1 1/16-mile Nanaimo at $11.20. "I've always trained her to go long," said Collins, "And she likes to train hard. If I back off of her she gets pretty antsy. Like this morning, she was begging to work, and while I didn't really work her, I gave her a light breeze and now she's happy again."

As evidenced by the large gatherings in the winner's circle whenever Lady's Jewel wins a race, the Collins family has remained close, and thanks to Andrew's father, they have one very nice filly.

"We raced the mare [Maid to Win] and although she never won, she had a lot of ability, but an entrapped epiglottis with an ulcer on it prevented her from breathing properly," said Collins. "We operated on her but it didn't help and she went steadily downhill. Dad had always had a soft spot for her, so we kept her and bred her to Baron de Vaux.

"I'm no genius when it comes to breeding but Baron de Vaux had speed and could carry it a distance and horses that can do that do very well around here. Lady's Jewel is her first foal and we feel pretty lucky."

After Lady's Jewel's win in the Nanaimo, Collins was wondering if she would get the respect he thought she deserved. With Queen of My Nights not running in the Stallion Stakes, Lady's Jewel should have a very easy time of it on the lead and is likely to be around even money this time. That's a lot of respect.

* Paul Minichiello reported that Rampaging Alf will miss B.C. Cup weekend and instead will run in the 6 1/2-furlong Governor's Handicap at Emerald Downs on Aug. 5. Eight of his 10 wins have been at Hastings Park, but Rampaging Alf has been unsuccessful in two tries at Emerald. "We really don't want to run against Mike K," said Minichiello.

* Cindy Krasner said that her promising 2-year-old, Crimson Mint, suffered a minor injury and will be turned out for the year. He figured to be one of the favorites in the B.C. Cup Nursery Stakes this Saturday.