10/04/2006 11:00PM

Muir Beach needs to be at her best


PHOENIX - Muir Beach, horse of the meet the last two seasons here, goes after career win No. 16 in Saturday's $40,000 City of Phoenix Stakes at Turf Paradise. Lined up against her in the six-furlong event is the scary Southern California shipper True and True. There are 12 fillies and mares in the field, but on paper it looks like a two-horse race.

Muir Beach has been a warrior for owner Dennis Weir and trainer Dan McFarlane. A 5-year-old gray daughter of Skip Away, she is 14 for 34 with eight of those wins coming at Turf Paradise. She has earned $454,224. Not only is she a stakes winner here on both surfaces, sprinting and routing, but she's ventured to Southern California and more than held her own. Last summer Muir Beach finished third in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Joel Campbell, up for most of her recent strong performances, has the call as Muir Beach makes her first start since winning the Desert Sky at a mile on the turf here May 6.

Muir Beach's best fast-track Beyer is a 99. In True and True she faces a rival who just registered a 104 Beyer when finishing second in the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo at Del Mar Aug. 18. The filly who beat True and True, Behaving Badly, is one of the best female sprinters in the country. The mare True and True beat back into third, Allswellthatnswell, came right back to win.

True and True is owned and trained by Wesley Ward and has worked smartly since the Rancho Bernardo. She breaks from the rail and will be ridden by Kerwin John.

If anyone can play spoiler it might be the resurgent Granja Vivo or the invading Jills Classy. Granja Vivo comes off two smashing wins in California. Most recently she romped by over six lengths at Fairplex and was claimed by Molly Pearson for $5,000. Jills Classy, meanwhile, ships in from Canterbury where she had a strong spring and summer, rattling off three straight wins for trainer Doug Oliver.