02/15/2002 1:00AM

Fertile ready to take on all comers in Vallejo Stakes


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Jeff Bonde and jockey Jason Lumpkins agree on one thing: Fertile will be difficult to defeat in Sunday's Vallejo Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

The $55,000-added Vallejo, a six-furlong stakes for 3-year-old fillies, was originally scheduled for Jan. 26 but was postponed when not enough entries could be found.

Bonde was ready to run Fertile then and will be even more ready Sunday.

Fertile won her first two starts last spring, winning a maiden race at Golden Gate Fields and the Nursery Stakes at Hollywood.

She wrenched a knee after winning the Nursery Stakes and was sidelined until Dec. 30, when she made her return against colts in the Sutter Stakes.

Fertile found herself on the lead in the Sutter, setting blazing fractions of 21.89 and 44.71 before fading to fourth.

"I thought we had the race in hand going into the turn," Bonde said of the Sutter. "But she was slipping and sliding, and we ran out of horse at crunch time."

When Fertile returned to the barn, Bonde discovered a quarter crack. He believes that contributed to the defeat.

With help from his brother Gary, a horseshoer, Bonde says the quarter crack should not be a problem.

Fertile has a pair of bullet works since the Sutter, including a 58.60 drill under Lumpkins on Feb. 8 when she worked six furlongs in 1:11.

"She's been training like a monster," Bonde said.

Fertile, who was content to come off the pace in her victory in the Nursery Stakes, drew the rail against five rivals for Sunday's race. She looks as if she could take the lead again with her natural speed.

She will be meeting two stakes-placed fillies, Unforgettable R N and Past You, but her primary rival may be That's Our Tricky, who drew the outside post. Lil' Awesome Annie rounds out the field.

That's Our Tricky raced twice without success in Kentucky last year before moving to Bill Morey's barn at Del Mar. She won her first start for Morey in a $32,000 maiden claimer on Sept. 5. Given a four-month break, she won a $32,000 starter allowance race by eight in her comeback.

Unforgettable R N has never finished off the board in six starts. Past You was second in the Courtship Stakes at Bay Meadows last fall after finishing second in the Bustles and Bows Stakes at Fairplex.