10/30/2007 12:00AM

Deal the Heat looks all but invincible

EmailSAN MATEO, Calif. - It's hard to tell whether Deal the Heat is more popular with trainers or fans.

The 3-year-old filly has been an odds-on winner in her past two starts and was claimed each time.

She was re-claimed two back by trainer Billy Morey. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer then claimed her back from Morey in her last start.

What's not to like in a runner that has hit the board in all eight of her turf starts, and is looking for her third straight victory in Thursday's Bay Meadows feature? The race is a $20,000 claimer at 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

Six rivals will face Deal the Heat, and they have their work cut out for them since she seems to be improving with each race. In Other Words, who has a similar stalking style as Deal the Heat, ran second at this level in her last start. She is the only rival that has Beyer Speed Figures in the neighborhood of the obvious favorite.

Deal the Heat is at her best on turf, particularly the Bay Meadows grass. Overall she has 4 wins, 3 seconds, and 1 third in 8 starts on turf. On the local turf her record is 6-3-3-0.

She should settle nicely behind Valentine Candi, who was claimed for $10,000 when second after setting the pace in her turf debut Sept. 27.

Deal the Heat is by one of California's hottest sires, Unusual Heat, who has nine stakes winners, including two in the past two months - Unusual Suspect in the Bay Meadows Derby and Pass the Heat in Fresno's Bull Dog.

Deal the Heat is the first foal of Irish-bred Schnitzel, who went 7-for-26 on the turf and retired with nine wins and earnings of $193,605.

Unusual Heat runners shine on the turf, with a win percentage of 15.9 percent.

The switch to the turf was the proverbial no-brainer for Morey early in Deal the Heat's career after she ran last in her first two career starts sprinting - on a sloppy track and a fast track - while beaten by a combined 58 1/4 lengths.

If the surface and location seem perfect, so too is the distance. Deal the Heat's record at 7 1/2 furlongs and one mile is 3 wins, 3 seconds and 1 third in 7 starts.