08/07/2006 11:00PM

Maiden could give Cut the Mustard fits

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - With her speed, class, and rail draw, Cut the Mustard would appear to be home free in Thursday's Bay Meadows Fair feature, a $62,500 optional claimer at five furlongs.

But not so fast.

Despite her four career victories and $151,370 in earnings, Cut the Mustard may find her plans spoiled by a maiden making her 20th start, Purple Myst.

does. Although she couldn't even win a bottom-level $8,000 maiden claimer last out, she did run a sub-45-second split in a five-furlong maiden race over the Golden Gate Fields turf course. She also set the pace early against Vaca City Flyer in the Monterey Handicap at five furlongs here May 13, and actually held on better in that race than Cut the Mustard did against Vaca City Flyer in the Vacaville Handicap at Solano in her most recent start: Purple Myst was beaten 4 1/2 lengths; Cut the Mustard was beaten 13 1/2 lengths.

"In that stakes, we tried to go to the lead with Vaca City Flyer," said O.J. Jauregui, who trains Cut the Mustard. "My filly's pretty nice, and I was surprised how easily Vaca City Flyer went by her."

It's hard to picture Purple Myst putting Cut the Mustard away as Vaca City Flyer did, but she could be battling Cut the Mustard into the lane. That could set things up for Queenmab'sdaughter, who will get a first-run trip here.

The pace could also help , who chased Cut the Mustard and Queenmab'sdaughter here in her last start June 17.