07/31/2003 12:00AM

Versatile Lady's Jewel one to beat


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Lady's Jewel, a triple stakes winner at 3, will likely be favored when she takes on six other fillies and mares in Saturday's feature at Hastings.

Lady's Jewel, a 5-year-old homebred daughter of Baron de Vaux, certainly isn't eligible for the non-winners-of-$3,000 other than maiden or claiming clause of this 1 1/16-mile optional race, so she will run for a $35,000 claiming price.

Lady's Jewel, owned by the Collins Brothers and trained by Andrew Collins, is coming off a very good fourth-place finish against stakes horses in the Senate Appointee on July 20.

A repeat of that effort should be good enough to win here. Lady's Jewel has natural speed and, given her huge class advantage over this field, it's likely that her jockey, Frank Fuentes, will send her right to the front.

Nevertheless, Lady's Jewel is also capable of rating, and if one of the other horses in the field is committed to making the lead, Fuentes will have other options. Lady's Jewel appears to be a standout but hasn't won a race since August 2001, when she scored a 2 3/4-length decision over Catahoula Rose in the Free Vacation Stakes.

Think Fast appears to have the best chance of beating Lady's Jewel. Despite having only raced six times in her career, Think Fast ran a solid third to Victor's Secret in her last race, a $50,000 optional race on June 22.

Think Fast worked a strong six furlongs in 1:12 flat July 27. Steve Henson trains, and Chris Loseth will ride.