11/20/2003 1:00AM

Centerofattention back for more


PHOENIX - Centerofattention was true to her name when she shipped to Turf Paradise in May and won the Sun City Handicap at a mile on the turf.

She looks to duplicate that feat when she lines up against 11 other fillies and mares in Saturday's $50,000 Queen of the Green Handicap. The distance is the same as the Sun City - a mile on the turf - and Centerofattention comes in as the 121-pound highweight and with big expectations.

Centerofattention, trained by Eric Kruljac, has done most of her work in Southern California. Her connections took a gamble in May when they shipped her to Phoenix for the Sun City over a course she had never seen and at a distance she had never tried on turf.

But under Hoogie Drexler, she stalked the pace, and blasted home a comfortable winner. The horse she beat back into third, A Smile Per Mile, has since become a multiple winner on the Southern California circuit.

Centerofattention comes into this off a fifth in the very tough Cal Cup Distaff Handicap on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita. Drexler will ride Centerofattention Saturday.

Three are pegged next in the weights at 119 pounds, Moonlit Maddie, Lacrystal Classic, and No Turbulence. Fourth in the Sun City in May - her last start - Moonlit Maddie has 5 wins in 12 starts on this course. She drew the rail.

Lacrystal Classic comes here from northern California sharp as a tack. She's run just one dull race since moving back to turf in the winter. With her speed, she figures to be at the head of the pack from the get-go. There is other speed in here, however, which could cause her problems.

Kruljac also is the trainer of No Turbulence. A 4-year-old filly, No Turbulence really hasn't done much in three career turf outings and it's possible she's been entered with an eye on the sky. It is supposed to get colder here, but rain is not expected. If it does rain, however, and the race is taken off the turf, No Turbulence would be tough, as she showed in her smart Phoenix Handicap win here Oct. 25. But if the race stays on turf, she may be a fish out of water.

With an abundance of speed signed up, one upset possibility is the late-running Abbey Ridge. She comes here off two smart closing efforts on the turf in Southern California.