08/28/2003 12:00AM

Proud Son, 'Illusion' look strong

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Perfect Illusion and Proud Son look like the favorites in their respective divisions of the $60,000 CTHS Sales Stakes. Both races are at 6 1/2 furlongs and are restricted to 2-year-olds that have gone through a Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (B.C. Division) sale.

Perfect Illusion, who is owned by Tina Haas and trained by Terry Clyde, has made a strong showing in each of her three starts. A daughter of Western Trick, Perfect Illusion scored an easy five-length victory over $11,000 maidens in her debut, which came at 3 1/2 furlongs on the Nursery Course June 21. She came back to just miss in the Timber Music Stakes July 13. Off that effort, Perfect Illusion was made the favorite in the B.C. Cup Debutante, but she had a wide trip and finished a non-threatening second to Frozen in Time. She will be ridden by Ceyatano Chaparro on Saturday.

Kim Hart paid $26,000 for Proud Son in last year's CTHS sale, and both Hart and his trainer Steve Bryant might have been disappointed with Proud Son's first two starts, as he went unplaced both times. But Proud Son, a son of Katahoula County, has improved in his last three outings. He won his maiden for $25,000 July 19 and came right back to win the B.C. Cup Nursery Aug. 4. He finished fourth as the favorite in the New Westminster Stakes but, according to assistant trainer Marillee Lenz, he had an excuse, and Lenz is expecting him to make amends Saturday.

"He was pinned down on the rail and he really didn't like it there," she said. "He's been training beautifully and he drew outside, so he should enjoy the trip this time."