10/25/2006 12:00AM

Karens Kwik Wager capable vs. older


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Steve Sherman is glad that Karens Kwik Wager is a racehorse and not a show horse.

"She's not the prettiest thing, but she has a lot of heart," said Sherman, who is handling his father Art's northern California operation while the elder Sherman prepares Siren Lure for the Breeders' Cup. "I'd rather have the heart. This isn't a beauty pageant."

Karens Kwik Wager drew the outside post against six rivals in Friday night's Bay Meadows feature, a $40,000 starter allowance at six furlongs.

Karens Kwik Wager has never finished worse than second in four career starts. She ran second in a spot similar to this last time, even though she checked near the eighth pole.

There is decent pace in the race with the presence of Meet Me in Fargo, who just won her maiden by 13 lengths, and Fargo's Legacy, who has gone to the front both routing and sprinting.

Fargo's Legacy won a straight maiden race after having run once for a $32,000 tag. Meet Me in Fargo romped in a very fast $20,000 maiden claimer and meets winners for the first time.

Karens Kwik Wager impressed Sherman with her second-place finish in her first start against winners last time.

"We were just trying to see where she fit," he said. "That was a very competitive race. To run second was very good."

Although all of her rivals except First Toe Shoes have higher Beyer Speed Figures than Karens Kwik Wager and she is meeting older, the 3-year-old filly has shown steady improvement with each start.

Two of her rivals, All Candy, who is 1 for 29, and Lady Woodman, who is 1 for 16, have failed at this level a number of times. Marathon Mom is a stalker like Karens Kwik Wager.

The 4-year-old Meet Me in Fargo, who was 3-5 in her maiden score, is the one to catch. She was pressured early in her victory before pulling away late.

Karens Kwik Wager will have to hope Fargo's Legacy and, perhaps, First Toe Shoes can provide some early pressure. But she should be looming into contention as the field turns for home.