05/09/2002 11:00PM

Sly Lady prepped for repeat

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CALGARY, Alberta - Sly Lady, who was impressive drawing off to a handy victory in a prep race last time out, heads a field of nine 3-year-old fillies here Sunday in the race she prepped for, the $40,000 Mount Royal.

Sly Lady's 4 1/2-length victory over Brass to Diamonds last out, on April 28, was accomplished in the excellent time of 1:11.60 over a good surface, and rider Real Simard had plenty of horse left at the wire.

The victory, which came in her 2002 bow, keeps Sly Lady undefeated, in three starts now, for trainer Ron Grieves. It also stamped her as the one to beat in a strong renewal of the six-furlong Mount Royal.

Fast fractions set the table for Sly Lady in the prep, and the presence of her stablemate Code's Decree, speedy Montana invader Fancy Prancer, and Beausox, who drew the rail, ensures an honest pace again Sunday. Sly Lady drew post 4, and Simard will ride again.

Alberta's champion juvenile filly last year, Brass to Diamonds, was no match for Sly Lady in the prep, after gaining striking position behind the early leaders.

Brass to Diamonds, who won two stakes in front-running style last year, can be expected to improve off that season-opening effort, and breaks from post 7 with Jaime Santos retaining the mount.

Breaking to her outside is the improving Sweet Monarch, who won a nonwinners-of-two allowance here April 19 with a three-wide move under Richard Hamel. She overcame the outside post in that sprint, but faces tougher company on Sunday.