05/04/2006 12:00AM

Edge to Shadowy Waters on turf

Shawn Cody/Cody Photography
After running successfully on dirt last month, Muir Beach returns to turf for the Desert Sky Handicap.

PHOENIX - Muir Beach moved back to dirt for last month's Cactus Flower Handicap and reestablished herself at the top of the filly and mare pecking order at Turf Paradise. Saturday, she returns to turf in the $40,000 Desert Sky Handicap at Turf Paradise. The mile race lured a field of eight.

There's little doubt Muir Beach is better on the dirt, as 11 of her 13 victories have come on the main track. But aside from her two victories, she has also finished second five times on turf.

Trained by Dan McFarlane, Muir Beach carries 123 pounds, spotting from five to 10 pounds to her rivals. Steve Gomez rides her for the first time.

Shadowy Waters is not only a proven commodity on the turf but she beat Muir Beach handily when the two met on this course at this same distance in the Sun City Handicap on March 18. That day Shadowy Waters set the pace under pressure and was able to dispatch everyone except talented Southern California shipper Dreams Come True, who ran by her late. Still, Shadowy Waters ended up five clear of third finisher Muir Beach.

In her last start, Shadowy Waters faltered in the lane to be fourth, beaten 12 lengths, in the April 21 Ocean Bay at 7 1/2 furlongs. She carries 118 pounds and rider Wilson Dieguez.

Blazing Bartok looms a danger after posting two monster victories on this course in March, both at 7 1/2 furlongs. She won by more than 11 lengths over $12,500 claimers on March 3, then by nearly nine over $16,000 claimers on March 31 and was claimed that day by Troy Bainum. She then dueled for the lead in the Ocean Bay and faltered to third. Sandi Gann rides.