12/21/2006 12:00AM

Muir Beach at full speed in Mesa


After losing her first two starts off a five-month layoff, Muir Beach returned to form with a half-length win in the Queen of the Green Handicap on Dec. 2. She will look to keep it going Saturday in the $40,000 Mesa Handicap at Turf Paradise, a 6 1/2-furlong event that has lured six fillies and mares.

Muir Beach has been a force on this circuit the past few seasons, winning horse of the meet honors the last two years, but her form at the beginning of this meet was less than stellar. After winning two consecutive stakes in April and May, she went to the bench for five months. Her first two return races this meet weren’t bad, but she lost both, finishing fourth in the Phoenix on Oct. 7 and second in a $30,000 optional claimer Oct. 23.

She dispelled doubts about whether she was still among the best on the grounds, though, when she won the Queen of the Green, which came at a mile on the turf.

A 5-year-old trained by Dan McFarlane, Muir Beach will be ridden by Glenn Corbett in the Mesa and will carry high weight of 123 pounds.

As usual, there’s a Southern California menace in a stakes here. Trainer Adam Kitchingman sends Vikki’s Honor, who has won 4 of her last 6 starts, including a stakes at Del Mar in early September. Following a break of nearly two months, she returned in the California Cup Distaff Handicap on turf at Santa Anita and finished seventh, beaten 4 3/4 lengths. She’s back on dirt here, and Luis Jauregui ships for the ride at 122 pounds.

Bully Bones was brilliant at times in 2005, winning the Grade 3 Sorrento at Del Mar and the Arizona Juvenile Filly Stakes, in which she romped by 10 1/2 lengths and earned a 97 Beyer Speed Figure. She has raced only twice since then, finishing fifth after a poor start in the Sunshine Millions Oaks and second here in the Cactus Cup in March. She has been working steadily for Saturday’s race. Isaias Enriquez rides at 119 pounds.