08/19/2005 12:00AM

Regal Red returns in tough spot


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The sensational Regal Red makes her return in the $40,000 Cover Girl Handicap at Hastings Sunday. Also on the card is the $40,000 Hastings Speed Handicap. Both races are at 6 1/2 furlongs, and both drew short fields.

Only four horses entered the Cover Girl, and it appears that it will boil down to a match race between Regal Red and Pretty Meadow.

If Regal Red is ever going to lose, this could be the place. As spectacular as she has been, Regal Red could be up against it in the Cover Girl. Regal Red, who is trained by Robbie Anderson, has won six straight races, all stakes, in dominating fashion, but she's making her first start since winning the Strawberry Morn April 23 and she's facing a formidable opponent in Pretty Meadow. Regal Red will be ridden by her usual rider, Frank Fuentes.

Trainer Janet Armstrong has entered Pretty Meadow and Stormented, but Pretty Meadow looks like the only real threat to Regal Red. A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred, Pretty Meadow is coming off of a very good second to Quiet Cash in a quickly run 6 1/2-furlong allowance race July 17. Armstrong is looking for a strong performance from Pretty Meadow.

"Regal Red is an exceptional filly," she said. "But Pretty Meadow is better than she's ever been right now and, who knows, maybe we can beat her."

The Hastings Speed drew five horses, but one of them, Quiet Cash, is expected scratch.