06/10/2004 11:00PM

A new test for local star Regal Red


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Local sensation Regal Red faces a new challenge when she meets Sandia's Flicka in Sunday's $40,000 Emerald Downs Handicap at Hastings. The 6 1/2-furlong feature drew five 3-year-old fillies and will go as the sixth race.

Regal Red has toyed with the locals in both of her starts this year, but she will be up against a very quick Sandia's Flicka, who is shipping up from Emerald Downs.

Sandia's Flicka set very fast fractions in her win over Melba Jewel in Emerald's six-furlong US Bank Stakes on April 18. She also led for all but the last few jumps in the 6 1/2-furlong Federal Way Stakes there on May 16. With her speed and the rail, Sandia's Flicka will have to be caught. Debbie Hoonan will ride Sandia's Flicka, owned by Gary Thompson and trained by Rick Terry.

Regal Red, a daughter of On Target, has been the easiest of winners in her three starts at 6 1/2 furlongs, and her Beyer Speed Figures dwarf her competition's. Jockey Frank Fuentes never turned her loose when she posted an 89 Beyer Figure for her win in the Supernaturel Stakes on May 24, and she came back to breeze an easy half-mile in 47.80 seconds on June 9.

There are a couple of variables concerning Regal Red, however.

"There's a lot of speed in the race, and while Frank thinks she'll rate, you never know until you try," trainer Robbie Anderson said. "Plus it could come up muddy, and I've never breezed her on an off track. We'll just have to see how it all turns out."

Regal Red will carry high weight of 122 pounds.

Skyhyla should benefit the most if a speed duel develops.