02/08/2008 1:00AM

Denaesalildevil back after brief rest

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - The only thing that Denaesalildevil did wrong last year was run into the likes of stakes winners Victorina, Vaca City Flyer, Dearest Trickski, Royal Kleven, and Gemstone Rush.

Despite that competition, she won 3 of 12 starts, earning $105,424 as she hit the board eight times.

The season eventually took its toll as Denaesalildevil finished last in her final two starts of 2007. She returns Sunday following a two-month freshening in the Bay Meadows feature, a $50,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Trainer Dennis Ward has freshened Denaesalildevil for two months. She usually flashes good speed and figures to have plenty of pace competition in Sunday's field of five.

Tucker's Tune, drawn just inside her on the rail, is capable of sub-45-second half-miles.

Wavy Lass, who drew the outside post, led for the opening half-mile before fading to fifth while making her comeback following a one-year layoff on Jan. 20.

Although a speed bias has been evident since Bay Meadows opened on Wednesday, the pace battle here could open up things for the two closers in the field. Soft Lite and Butters finished second and third in front of Wavy Lass in their last start on Jan. 20 before Butters was disqualified to seventh.

Soft Lite has won 6 of 18 starts and did win at this claiming level in December at Golden Gate Fields.

If Denaesalildevil needs a race, Soft Lite's closing kick could prove tough for the rest to hold off.

Vicarino sparkles in comeback

Harry Aleo's multiple stakes winner Vicarino, making his second start after a year on the sidelines, won an $80,000 optional claimer at six furlongs Thursday by seven lengths in 1:08.55.

"To run that easy and run that fast, that's a pretty special thing," trainer Greg Gilchrist said.

Jockey Russell Baze said Vicarino was flat-footed at the break but quickly got into gear after a tap on the shoulder. "He'll get something out of this race because he was a little tired at the end."

Vicarino may be pointed to the Grade 3 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint on March 15.