03/31/2005 12:00AM

Early-speed 'Humor' or closer Puxa Saco?


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Heavenly Humor meets two Southern California invaders dropping out of graded stakes in Saturday's $60,000-added MOC Insurance Services Woodside Handicap at Bay Meadows.

The six-furlong sprint will likely boil down to a stretch duel between Heavenly Humor and Puxa Saco. Heavenly Humor won the 1 1/16-mile San Jose Handicap here last spring and the six-furlong Soviet Problem Feb. 26, her first race since last May. Puxa Saco was a fast-closing second in the Grade 3 Las Flores Handicap at Santa Anita on Feb. 27 in her last start.

While Heavenly Humor, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, has won going short and long, Puxa Saco is best sprinting, said her trainer, Jenine Sahadi.

Puxa Saco, who won two stakes as a 2-year-old, ran second in both the Las Flores and the $113,000 Monrovia Handicap at the current Santa Anita meeting.

"She's really tough," Sahadi said. "She tries. She gives 100 percent.

"She's able to sit off the pace and finish strong. Last time she had a lot left to do. She was rolling at the end."

Heavenly Humor's went wire to wire in the Soviet Problem, but there is plenty of speed in this race. Breaking from post 2, she is flanked by speedsters Luisathebeachhouse to her outside and Yerevan Star to the inside.

Heavenly Humor is capable of grabbing the lead, but as she proved in the San Jose, she is also able to rate off the lead.

Puxa Saco might find herself last early. "You can do pretty much what you want with her," Sahadi said. "She's good. She'll fall into a comfortable spot."

How comfortable she'll be at the end could depend how much of a lead she spots Heavenly Humor early.

Heavenly Humor should get first run on Puxa Saco, and that might make the difference.

The Woodside is the first in what Bay Meadows officials hope will become a series of sponsored races.