08/04/2003 11:00PM

Monroe takes aggressive shots


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Sherrie Monroe figures she'll either be strutting or slinking back to her barn after Thursday's Bay Meadows Fair racing card is completed.

Monroe has an entrant in a one-mile, $25,000 claiming race on turf, and another in a $40,000 starter allowance race at six furlongs.

Both 3-year-old fillies are taking big steps up in class.

The Monroe-trained Shalmarie, who is by Siberian Summer, is one of 12 3-year-old fillies entered in the $25,000 claiming race.

Entering a filly that has never run farther than 5 1/2 furlongs on the dirt in a one-mile turf race is an ambitious move. And although Shalmarie's Tomlinson Figure doesn't indicate a proclivity for turf, or even necessarily for the distance, Monroe believes it's worth a shot.

"A lot of Siberian Summers run on the turf," Monroe said. "Trying distance and turf, we'll get two question marks taken care of at once."

With the exception of Native Heartbeat, one of the race's two also-eligibles, no member of the field has ever won on turf.

Shalmarie has never run a bad race. She ran twice as a 2-year-old, finishing fourth and third in $20,000 maiden claimers before going to the sidelines. She graduated in her comeback for a $12,500 tag at Stockton, and then closed nicely when just missing in a $12,500 race against winners at the Solano fair.

Since then, Monroe has lengthened Shalmarie's gallops, and she is confident the filly can handle the distance.

Proud Gal, who shows two bullet works among her five drills since running in an allowance race at Pleasanton five weeks ago, is the likely favorite. Moscow Burning, a daughter of Moscow Ballet, just scored a wire-to-wire victory in her first attempt at a mile at Solano, and figures tough.

In the starter allowance, the Monroe-trained Magic Secret could be the second choice to speedy National Alert, even though she just won a $12,500 maiden claimer.

"I would have liked to run cheaper, but there isn't anything cheaper for 3-year-olds," Monroe said. "I don't know if I've got a shot or not, but it's either take a shot or meet older."