08/04/2006 12:00AM

Tyler's Jewel looks best off his last three starts


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Tyler's Jewel, a newcomer to Fort Erie from Tampa Bay Downs this spring, is the likely favorite in Sunday's Parnitha Cup, a five-furlong dash scheduled for the turf course.

The Parnitha is the second of 18 Cup races that require at least three previous starts at the meet. Two Cup races restricted to 2-year-olds require two previous starts. Each Cup race has a purse of $30,000.

A full field of 10, plus six also-eligibles, is listed for the Parnitha. Preference was given to horses with the highest earnings in 2005 and 2006.

The top lifetime earner going to the post is 13-year-old Major Zee, with $370,008.

Major Zee has won two of his five races this year. The wins were on dirt, one at 4 1/2 furlongs and the latest at two furlongs.

Major Zee probably will find the competition a little too salty. But he is coupled in the wagering with Chemistry Class, 5, who with $218,401 in earnings has the second-highest bankroll. More than $70,000 of it was earned on turf.

Tyler's Jewel, a 6-year-old owned by Robert McGee and trained by Marilyn McMullen, was a $12,500 claim at Tampa in January. Moved up to $25,000, Tyler's Jewel won a race and had two thirds from his next four starts at the Florida track.

Then it was off to the Fort Erie meet where Tyler's Jewel, in three starts at the allowance level, has stamped himself as perhaps the top runner on the grounds.

In his local debut May 28, at odds of almost 20-1 in a field of nine, Tyler's Jewel clashed with 1-5 Woodbine stakes winner Are You Serious at 6 1/2 furlongs. Tyler's Jewel came from off the pace and engaged the Toronto runner in a head-to-head duel throughout the long stretch.

Flaying away furiously aboard Are You Serious, jockey Martin Ramirez managed only late to rid himself of his stubborn foe and win by a neck.

Just two weeks ago Are You Serious defeated Canada's 2005 sprint champion, Judiths Wild Rush, in the $125,000 Bold Venture at Woodbine.

Tyler's Jewel, in his next outing here June 25, came from last and fell a neck short of catching 3-5 New York ship-in You Willgo Broke at six furlongs.

Tyler's Jewel's last race was two weeks ago, when at 5-1 he defeated the 6-5 Record Buster going 1 1/16 miles.

Tyler's Jewel has yet to race on turf, but with his versatility that should be no problem.