06/10/2004 11:00PM

Vous talented, undependable


ELMONT, N.Y. - Handicappers can go broke in a hurry betting horses whose trouble lines indicate unfulfilled potential but who consistently get beaten as the favorite in races in which they appear to lay over the field.

Handicappers, meet Vous.

The beaten favorite in her past three races, Vous will break from post 11 in Sunday's Sands Point Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile Grade 3 stakes on Belmont's inner turf for 3-year-old fillies. Her Beyer Speed Figures place her well within the top choices in the race, but then there's that record again: two fourth-place finishes and one second in her last three races.

"She's been really consistent," said Bruce Brown, the assistant to trainer Timothy Hills, on Friday morning. "She's consistently gotten herself into trouble."

will face 11 others in the Sands Point, including Lucifer's Stone, the likely favorite, and Mambo Slew, the winner of the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes on the turf at Hollywood Park last November.

Like many good turf horses, Vous is a stretch-runner, and in the past she has had to make her own luck. Her last start, at Monmouth Park on May 30, was typical. Around the far turn, she began darting through traffic and then found herself behind a wall of horses at the eighth pole. She briefly lost all momentum, was angled out in the stretch, and was coming fastest of all at the end to finish fourth, beaten 1 1/4 lengths. Another 100 yards would have gotten her all the money.

"We're hoping Belmont will be good for her," Brown said. "She's a long-striding filly, and those big turns will probably help."

Lucifer's Stone, trained by Linda Rice, comes into the Sands Point on a three-race winning streak, including two stakes victories. She has been off since her win on April 14 in the Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland, but has worked four times at five furlongs over Belmont's turf course since May 9.

Mambo Slew, trained by Patrick Biancone, will be tough if her California form holds at Belmont. She has won 3 of 5 lifetime starts over the turf at Santa Anita and Hollywood, but will be stretching out for the first time at a distance past one mile.

Savage Beauty, a front-runner from Allen Jerkens's barn, will be the speed of the Sands Point. In her last start, May 27 over a yielding course at Belmont in an overnight stakes, she lost by a nose to Delta Sensation, also entered in the Sands Point.