07/29/2005 11:00PM

Comics Dream taking on older in turf mile

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Trainer Gloria Buckridge made history on July 27, opening day of the Sonoma County Fair, when she saddled Taco Willy to win the inaugural race on the new turf course. She came back to win the next day on the main track with My Boomerang to be a perfect 2 for 2 at the meet entering the weekend.

She will try to keep her record on the turf course perfect Monday when she sends out 3-year-old Comics Dream in a one-mile allowance race against older fillies and mares on the turf.

Stretched out for the first time in her career at Golden Gate on June 19, Comics Dream won a $40,000 starter allowance race at one mile on the turf, defeating Sequidilla, who came back to win over the turf course here Thursday.

Before her Golden Gate win, Comics Dream had made 7 of her 8 starts on the main track. In the lone turf effort, she had finished fourth sprinting while making her career debut at Hollywood Park last December.

"I felt she had a way of running that would be good for the turf," Buckridge said of Comics Dream's return to the turf. "The owner said he thought she'd run on turf also."

They were right.

But Buckridge tried something else new. Comics Dream, normally a stalker when sprinting, sat back early and made one late, well-timed run to win by a head for a $113.20 victory under apprentice Kate Repp, who will ride her again Monday.

"I told Kate, 'Don't ask her early, just let her place herself,' " Buckridge said.

Comics Dream got 12 pounds from her rivals last time and will get 10 on Monday as Buckridge stays with Repp.

"She fits the filly," Buckridge said. "She's patient and doesn't rush her.

"Any time you can get weight off a filly, especially going a mile or more, I think it's important. I think weight off makes a difference, because this is a small filly."

Comics Dream faces a tough task Monday. Although she has only four rivals, the race is wide open.

Funzone brings a two-race win streak into the race, having won a $12,500 claimer on the turf and a $20,000 claimer on the dirt.

As with Comics Dream, she will sit back early and make a strong run late.

"I always thought she had talent," said trainer Jerry McArthur, who claimed her for $12,500 when she won her debut. "She had problems, then got hurt. Everybody thought I was crazy for keeping her. I think the big deal is I stretched her out. Once I did that, she relaxed early."

Old Chinese Copy, sent north by Doug O'Neill, will make her first start since a $40,000 claiming victory last November and looms the possible favorite.