10/09/2003 11:00PM

Lacie Girl towers over opponents

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - With the presence of Lacie Girl, Northern California's top female sprinter, Sunday's $60,000 Charles H. Russell Handicap at Bay Meadows is likely a contest for second.

Lacie Girl has been virtually unbeatable at the Russell distance of six furlongs, with seven victories in eight Northern California starts. Her lone loss was by a nose to Ema Bovary in the Soviet Problem Handicap.

"When I get a horse that likes a certain distance, I try to keep the horse there," said trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Since winning last spring in the Sunnyvale Handicap, Lacie Girl has won the Vacaville Handicap at the Solano County Fair and has been so formidable that enough opponents couldn't be found to run against her to card the Elie Destruel Handicap at Santa Rosa.

Lacie Girl went south and finished second to Secret Liason in the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo at 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar.

"She gives a good effort every time," said Hollendorfer of Lacie Girl.

Hollendorfer, who seriously considered entering stakes-winning Just Bill Me against older competition in her comeback, opted to run only Lacie Girl.

Fancee Bargain, who won the CERF Handicap at Del Mar in her last start Sept. 10, and Pheiffer, who stopped badly in the Hillsborough Handicap on the turf on Sept. 20, will challenge Lacie Girl.

Fancee Bargain was second in the Sunnyvale, and Pheiffer was second in the Vacaville.

Two Emerald Downs imports, Ippodami and R C Gangster, round out the field. Ippodami was second in the Belle Roberts on Sept. 21, and R C Gangster won a $50,000 claimer on Sept. 14.

While she has good speed, Lacie Girl prefers to sit and stalk, and is hard to hold off in the lane.

Cappucino Kid was the heavy favorite when he ran second to How Bout Jose in a $32,000 claimer Thursday. He had been re-claimed in his previous start for $25,000 by trainer Chuck Peery.

Six trainers put in claims for Cappucino Kid, a 5-year-old gelding who has won 4 of 11 starts this year and 9 of 24 in his career. Hollendorfer, Art Sherman, John F. Martin, Terry Knight and William E. Morey lost the shake to Jack Carava, who is based in Southern California.