05/01/2002 11:00PM

Bay Meadows: Slewsbox back

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - No matter the outcome of the $55,000-added Woodside Handicap at Bay Meadows, trainer Chuck Peery will have a reason to smile.

That's because Slewsbox is set to make her return in the six-furlong race. Slewsbox has won five straight races and 8 of her 12 career starts.

A 5-year-old mare, Slewsbox ran only three times last year, winning three stakes. All five victories in her current win streak have come in stakes, and she fell a neck shy of six straight stakes wins when she broke slowly.

"She's a fantastic filly, but she's fragile," Peery said. "I've taken time with her trying to get her to run for as long as she can."

Slewsbox has never been hurt badly. Most of her problems have been of the nagging variety, but they are also problems such as quarter cracks that take time to clear up. Peery credits owners Leonard Dunham and Jerome Gardipee with being patient with her.

"She's had so many problems, but I applaud the owners," Peery said. "They've been wonderful and given her time when some would have had the inclination to look for her to come back quicker."

Peery said that he has been able to get more works into Slewsbox for this comeback than he sometimes has in the past. She had a bullet five-furlong drill followed by a bullet six-furlong work before blowing out with a 34.80 second three-furlong work April 30.

"She's happy, healthy and ready to race," said Peery, who predicts a good effort.

If Peery's endorsement is not enough, he notes that Russell Baze drove to Golden Gate Fields to work her and was so impressed that he said he wanted to ride her.

The race should come up tough.

Go Go, who won three straight graded stakes last year, has been nominated, but she just ran last Sunday in the B. Thoughtful Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Stakes-placed Bullish Miss, Carson Jen, runner-up to Slewsbox in her past two starts, Fancee Bargain and I'm a Lil Princess are possible, along with Party Pirate and Rosanda.

The most interesting entrant could be 3-year-old Fertile, who has won 3 of 4 starts and has never lost to a female.

"We didn't have anywhere else to go," said trainer Jeff Bonde, who had to scratch Fertile from the closing day Emeryville Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Golden Gate Fields because of a high white cell blood count.

Although she meets older for the first time, Fertile is a quality filly with two stakes wins already.

She has worked well since being scratched, including a bullet 1:11.80 six-furlong move over the track.

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