06/02/2002 11:00PM

Sweet Monarch rules


CALGARY, Alberta - Richard Hamel took the safe route home aboard Sweet Monarch Saturday at Stampede Park in the $40,000, one-mile Lilac Handicap for 3-year-old fillies - and romped to an easy 7 1/2-length win.

"I went around this time," said Hamel, referring to his ride on Sweet Monarch in the Mount Royal on May 12 when he tried to slip through along the rail and was stopped cold, losing all chance.

"I wasn't taking any chances today," Hamel said after the Lilac.

There was room along the inside of a tiring Sly Lady on the final turn of the Lilac, but Hamel had lots of horse left and dead aim on the pacesetting Fancy Prancer.

Sweet Monarch was in full flight a furlong out and had collared a tiring Fancy Prancer at that point.

Hamel had to keep her mind on business in the final furlong.

"Once we went by Fancy Prancer, she started to loaf," he said. "She was waiting on horses and trying to pull herself up."

Fancy Prancer held on for place, and Brass to Diamonds made a mild late bid to finish third.

Sweet Monarch returned $9.70 and ran the mile in 1:38.40, aided by quick fractions of 45.30 seconds and 1:11 set by Fancy Prancer.

Trainer Dale Greenwood will point Sweet Monarch to the June 16 Penny Ridge on closing day of the 43-day stand.

Owners David and Elliot Kerr picked out Sweet Monarch at the 2000 Vancouver yearling sale, looking for distance bloodlines, Greenwood said. She is out of the Mr. Leader mare Sweet Leader, and on Saturday, in her first start beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, she validated their plan.

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