08/02/2006 12:00AM

El Real looks best upon return to the turf


SANTA ROSA, Calif. - It seems trainer Chuck Jenda sensed something in El Real's initial start on the turf. El Real ran poorly the first time he raced on grass, but since then it has become his best surface.

looks tough in Friday's Sonoma County Fair feature as he returns to the turf off a main-track sprint to meet six rivals in a $20,000 claimer at one mile.

El Real, a 3-year-old who was a $200,000 yearling purchase, tried the turf in his second start, finishing ninth in a field of 10 while never coming close. Given time off and dropped into a $25,000 maiden claimer on the main track, he graduated in his next start.

Two starts later, he returned to the turf, running second, then ran third. He won his next start before getting a six-week break. In his return, El Real pressed the pace in a $40,000 optional claimer on the main track at Solano on July 19 and stopped badly in the stretch, running last. But he has a bullet work since and returns to his preferred surface.

His two best Beyer Speed Figures have come on the turf, even though his Tomlinson turf rating is a sub-par 256. He appears to like the one-mile distance, having two wins and a second in five starts at a mile.

El Real has defeated on the turf both of his primary rivals in Friday's race, Atticus in Style and Flying Incognito. Both are in Friday's race off a layoff.

has five works since running third to El Real in his second turf start on June 1. He edged Flying Incognito by a neck to win his turf debut on May 11.

, with 2 seconds and 2 thirds in 4 turf starts, hasn't raced since May 26. He adds blinkers on Friday and will likely go for the lead. Both his victories came in wire-to-wire style while wearing blinkers. He finished preparations for his return with two seven-furlong drills, one here at the Sonoma County Fair.