06/14/2004 12:00AM

Two paths to victory on weekend


CALGARY, Alberta - The two stakes races run at Stampede Park last weekend presented a study in contrasts.

On Saturday, Raylene captured the Duchess of York over a fast surface and under a confident ride from Rickey Walcott as the public choice in a three-horse field.

Sunday, Bubblegum Kid scored an improbable upset in the Herald Gold Plate over a course rated as good but which changed hourly under overcast conditions.

Walcott moved Raylene at the three-eighths pole to engage the pacesetting duo of Northern Neechitoo and A Shaky Start.

"I had to go then, because the because the fractions were slow," said Walcott.

His decision proved correct, as Raylene cruised by in upper stretch and won under a hand ride, paying $2.90 in a race limited to win betting only. Northern Neechitoo held off A Shaky Start by a half-length for second money.

Raylene's connections are left to ponder yet another journey to Woodbine, but Raylene, a daughter of Tabasco Cat, is clearly the class of her division here.

A full field of 10 started in the Herald Gold Plate, and the fractions were certainly too fast in the 41st renewal of the top offering for older horses at this meet.

A Vancouver invader, Lord Shogun, and the Teeworth Plate winner, Deputy Country, dueled through extremely fast fractions of 22.80 seconds, 46.20, and 1:12.20 over a course softened by overnight rains. They paid the price, as jockey Mike Iammarino rallied Bubblegum Kid from well back to prevail over Rindanica in the closing yards as the longest shot on the board at 27-1.