08/29/2007 11:00PM

Bettors on Butters this time?


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Butters, who stunned fans and rivals alike in winning the Sweepida Stakes at Stockton at a $138.20 payoff in her second start, gets a new challenge in Saturday's Bay Meadows feature. The 3-year-old filly will meet older rivals for the first time in a $50,000 optional claimer at six furlongs. She's the only 3-year-old among the five runners.

"Obviously, it's extremely tough for a 3-year-old to beat older," said Angelo Tekos Jr., who trains Butters. "Most older horses have more running experience under their belts, but if you have a good

3-year-old, you can beat older. After all, it's September."

Butters seems ideally bred for the turf, being by El Prado out of a Theatrical mare, but she did nothing on the grass in her debut. Then she won the Sweepida on dirt at Stockton. She wasn't even favored when she won a first-level allowance race July 23 at Santa Rosa, which was her last start.

Tekos hoped to run her back going long, but the race he had in mind didn't fill. He's happy to be able to keep her on dirt for the time being.

"I'm lucky this race went," Tekos said. "She's won two on dirt, and I'm a believer in the old adage 'If it ain't broke don't fix it.' I might try her on turf again sometime, but I'd like to work her on the surface."

Tekos isn't sure how good

Butters is.

"I haven't seen she's a stakes type against older," he said. "I don't see her running against a Victorina. I'm hoping she can show me a lot in this race."

Butters may be favored for the first time Saturday. Her biggest obstacle might not be her age but rather her running style. She sits back early, and the Bay Meadows track has been very kind to speed.

A Lil' Alimony has seven wins but none at Bay Meadows. She has speed and the rail but comes off a poor performance.

Tucker's Tune ran evenly and was never a factor in her Aug. 8 comeback while finishing ahead of A Lil' Alimony.

Fargo's Legacy has shown speed and has worked nicely for her return, but is making her first start in 8 1/2 months.

Meet Me in Fargo won three straight against weaker at Prairie Meadows and seemed to maintain her form when second in a July 27 turf sprint at Santa Rosa in her return to California.