07/02/2002 11:00PM

Oh, 'Ms. Lady,' you're the pick of the Matron

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SASKATOON, Saskatchewan - Last year's top local 3-year-old filly, Ms. Lady Rose, should be favored over five evenly matched rivals in Friday's $5,000 Matron Handicap.

Ms. Lady Rose won 4 of 7 races in 2001 and has kept on winning this year as she took the season's first two filly-mare allowance races at a half-mile and six furlongs.

Last time out, also going six furlongs, Ms. Lady Rose was unable to collar the front-runner and had to settle for second, beaten 1 1/2 lengths. The about seven-furlong distance of the Matron may prove to be her undoing.

A plus for Ms. Lady Rose's connections is that the winner of her last race, Watshername, was not nominated to the Matron.

The competitors facing Ms. Lady Rose all have credentials.

Princess Briartic was last year's top older mare with five wins from nine starts, including three stakes scores. While she has been no closer than fourth in three starts this year, Princess Briartic may be ready to produce a top effort going a distance more suited to her stalking style.

Truly Remarkable is winless in the past two years but was the top 3-year old filly here in 2000. Last year, Truly Remarkable was second or third in seven of nine starts. She has continued to light the board this season with a second and third in the last two six-furlong allowances.

J.R. Hatfield arrives from the tougher Alberta circuit where, although winless, she has been running competitively among the upper claiming mares this season.

Red Vil Do won the Saskatchewan Derby and three other stakes last year as a sophomore but hasn't been within five lengths of the winner in her two starts this season.

Completing the field is Blue Camay, a winner of two race at Hastings Park last year but no better than third in three outings against this bunch in 2002.