06/09/2005 11:00PM

Quiet Cash might be getting good at the right time

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - With less than three weeks until the first major race on the Hastings schedule, the Grade 3, $125,000 Lieutenant Governors' on July 1, perennial powerhouse Lord Nelson is looking tough again but could face a challenge from a horse half his age, the 4-year-old Quiet Cash.

For the past four years, Lord Nelson has been the best older horse at Hastings. In his last 24 starts here, he has finished first or second 22 times and third the other two. During that period he twice ventured to Emerald Downs to run in the Longacres Mile, going unplaced in 2002 and finishing third behind Grade 1 winner Sky Jack in 2003.

Needless to say, whenever Lord Nelson shows up in a race at Hastings, he's the horse to beat. That will be the case in the Lieutenant Governors', a race he has won two of the last four years and lost by a neck the other two years. However, Lord Nelson is 8 years old now and struggled to win his latest race, the John Longden. Plus, he will likely have to carry at least 123 pounds in the Lieutenant Governors', the same as in the Longden, so he could be vulnerable.

Quiet Cash just might be the horse of the moment.

Quiet Cash has reeled off two very impressive wins this year. A Kentucky-bred colt, Quiet Cash made his 2005 debut in a $35,000 optional race April 30 and was an easy 6 1/4-length winner. His veteran trainer, Terry Jordan, was pretty confident going into the race - Jordan isn't afraid to go deep at the mutuel windows, and was a bit surprised at the $7.60 win price.

"I knew we had a pretty good horse, and the horse that finished second to him, well, he was running for $8,000 last year," he said. "I thought Quiet Cash was a standout that day and was obviously pretty happy that a lot of other people didn't."

The betting public caught on pretty quickly, though, and made Quiet Cash 4-5 when he resurfaced in a $50,000 optional race May 29. That 6 1/2-length win over Celt was even more impressive, and the 100 Beyer Speed Figure Quiet Cash earned was the best given to any horse at Hastings since Get Smart posted the same figure for his win in an allowance race on Oct. 3, 1999.

Quiet Cash has credentials to be a top horse at Hastings. After all, as a 2-year-old he was beaten only five lengths by Lion Heart in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity. Quiet Cash didn't progress as a 3-year-old, though, and when he showed up in a $32,000 claiming race at Del Mar last August, he was claimed by his current owner, Bahadur Cheema. When Cheema called Jordan to ask if he thought it was a good idea to claim Quiet Cash, Jordan wasn't exactly supportive.

"Actually, I told him that there must be something wrong with a horse like that to be in for that price," Jordan said. "When we finished the conversation I was pretty sure he wasn't going to claim him. About five minutes later he called me back and told me he was going to take him. I can't take any credit."

Following the claim, Quiet Cash was shipped to Hastings, where he ran in the B.C. Derby.

"Actually, that's why Bob claimed him," said Jordan of Cheema. "He wanted a derby horse. Quiet Cash did have a few problems when he showed up here, and that's why he ran such a poor race in the derby. He's still not where I would like to get him, but he's on the right track."

Jordan wasn't completely sure the Lieutenant Governors' would be Quiet Cash's next start.

"We might just run him in a $75,000 optional race," he said. "He's full of confidence right now, and we would like to keep him that way. If an easier spot comes up we might wait before we have to tackle the big guns."

Wherever Quiet Cash runs, he'll certainly be a force to be reckoned with.

* Hastings is introducing a new bet this weekend, adding a 20-cent superfecta to its wagering menu.