05/29/2002 11:00PM

An opportunity for turf standout Lord Juban


MIAMI - Saturday's $75,000 Simply Majestic Stakes will be Lord Juban's to lose, when he starts as the overwhelming favorite to defeat 10 rivals going 1 1/16 miles on the grass. The Simply Majestic is the sixth of 12 live races on Saturday's card at Calder Race Course.

Lord Juban, the undisputed leader of Calder's 3-year-old grass division, has won four of his last six starts on turf, including his two most recent outings, Gulfstream Park's Caltech Handicap and Calder's Fabulous Frolic Stakes. Trained by Tim Ritvo for the partnership of the Jon Stable and Gordon Racing Corp., Lord Juban has shown considerable improvement since first donning blinkers last December. His only two losses since the equipment change came against stakes company at Gulfstream this winter: He finished third in the Dave Feldman and second behind trainer Bill Mott's odds-on Orchard Park in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes.

Lord Juban will carry highweight of 122 pounds in the Simply Majestic. That is just a one-pound increase over what he carried in his easy two-length victory over stablemate Class of Seventy in the Fabulous Frolic Stakes here on May 5. Leading jockey Cornelio Velasquez, Lord Juban's regular rider, will again have the assignment.

Class of Seventy will be back to test his uncoupled mate in the Simply Majestic, as will Mountain Forum, who finished a disappointing sixth after banging the gate at the start of the Fabulous Frolic. Mountain Forum is already a stakes winner on both turf and dirt, and is expected to improve off his Fabulous Frolic outing with the red-hot M.R. Cruz assuming the riding chores.

Modest Lover, a speedy but lightly raced colt, is perhaps the most intriguing of Lord Juban's new challengers in the Simply Majestic. Modest Lover has won both starts since being claimed by trainer Steve Standridge for $45,000 out of his career debut at Gulfstream in April. He is by Afternoon Deelites, whose offspring have shown a fondness for grass. Modest Lover is expected to set the pace making his two-turn, grass and stakes debut on Saturday.

I'mabuffalosoldier, Noble Jester, Bernie B., Island Skipper, Wild Buddy, and the entry of Erv's Creek and winning Flames round out the starting lineup.