06/06/2003 11:00PM

Proud Lion popular at windows


MIAMI - Proud Lion was pounded down to even money for his career debut on April 27 and delivered as advertised, drawing off to a 3 3/4-length victory over maiden special weight company. The price figures to be shorter, but the results the same, when Proud Lion returns against entry-level allowance competition in Monday's first race at Calder, a 5 1/2-furlong sprint offering a $30,000 purse.

Proud Lion, a son of Lucky Lionel, contested the pace from the outset in his debut and pulled away through the stretch to an easy win. He covered 4 1/2 furlongs in 53.18 seconds, the second-fastest clocking at the distance during the opening six weeks of the meet.

Proud Lion is trained by James Hatchett for his owner-breeders, the Jacks or Better Farm. Hatchett and Jacks or Better have produced a number of fast 2-year-olds here over the years, including graded stakes winner Midas Eyes, who won a maiden race by eight lengths here in his second start last summer.

Others who come into Monday's race unbeaten are Wind Glider, Sea Clip, and R Maestro.

Wind Glider posted a 3 1/2-length victory against $32,000 claiming rivals in his debut on May 10. Among his victims that afternoon was Settle Down, who flattered the performance by returning to graduate by 5 3/4 lengths under a $40,000 claiming tag 10 days later.

Settle Down also is among the five who will try to upset Proud Lion on Monday. Moment of Song, Wind Glider's uncoupled stablemate, rounds out the lineup.

The fastest 4 1/2-furlong clocking of the meet was turned in by Sami's Girl, who will face six other undefeated 2-year-old fillies in the eighth race. The race will be decided under the same conditions as the opener - at 5 1/2 furlongs for a $30,000 purse.

Sami's Girl showed early speed, eased back off the pace into the turn, then came on again to easily run down Lavender Girl to win by 4 3/4 lengths in her career debut on May 24. Her final time of 53.17 bettered Proud Lion's clocking by a mere .01.

Sami's Girl, a daughter of Kipper Kelly, is trained by David Fawkes for her breeders, Linda and James Solomon.

Magic Line, a 4 1/4-length debut winner under a $32,000 claiming tag, may prove the one to beat from the rail under leading rider Manoel Cruz. He also has the mount on Proud Lion.