09/18/2008 12:00AM

Comedy Girl targets rebound


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Gloria Buckridge has put Comedy Girl in a tough spot in Saturday's $75,000 Miss America at Golden Gate Fields.

The 1 1/8-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares attracted nine runners, including Wild Promises, who has won three straight turf stakes and has never finished off the board, and Lavender Sky, who has run in Grade 1 and Grade 2 races in Southern California.

"This is a tough race," said Buckridge, who admits she was hoping that Wild Promises wouldn't run, "but they're all tough races when you're in stakes races. She beat a lot of tough horses when she ran down south, even though she didn't win."

Comedy Girl, a 4-year-old Comic Strip filly out of Musical Girl, won 4 of 8 starts last year. She's 0 for 6 this year, with 2 seconds and 2 thirds. She finished third in the Irish O'Brien and second in the $150,000 Fran's Valentine by less than a length in Southern California this spring, before getting a freshener.

She ran seventh and eighth in two starts at Del Mar, the Osunitas on July 19 off an 11-week layoff, and the Solano Beach on Aug. 17, under Victor Espinoza. But Buckridge thinks both races are better than they appear on paper.

"I probably think she's nicer than most people do," Buckridge said. "She had a rough trip with no pace [in the Osunitas], and I just throw the last race out completely. Victor Espinoza said she lost all chance when a horse slammed into her on the turn."

With the presence of Wild Promises, In My Glory, and 3-year-old You Lift Me Up, who is coming off a victory in the Aug. 17 Last Dance at the Bay Meadows Fair, Comedy Girl should get an honest pace.

And Buckridge is happy Comedy Girl will only have to walk over to the turf course.

"I'm delighted to run at home," she said. "The fact she's running here gives her an extra length. She's been effective up here."

Comedy Girl has the added advantage of a work over the course last Saturday, finishing strongly in a 1:00.80 five-furlong work around the dogs.

"It's not that important, but I figured why not since she was going to run on the turf," Buckridge said.

Wild Promises, who is at her best sitting just off the pace, figures to get her dream trip here. Lavender Sky, beaten only a neck when third as the favorite in the Grade 2 Santa Ana this spring, may be the best runner Wild Promises has met. However, Wild Promises has better speed and has proven tough to get by in the lane in the past.