11/30/2006 12:00AM

Muir Beach tries to end slump


PHOENIX - The primary question at Turf Paradise in Saturday's $40,000 Queen of the Green Handicap is whether two-time defending horse of the meet Muir Beach has lost a step or two. Muir Beach has lost both of her starts since returning from a layoff, and the 5-year-old mare needs to win this one-mile turf race to restore her standing.

Owned by Dennis Weir and trained by Dan McFarlane, Muir Beach has had a marvelous career, winning 14 of 36 starts and earning than $460,000. She has won numerous stakes at Turf Paradise and has had a number of fine showings in graded stakes in Southern California. She was given a five-month vacation starting in May, and in her two starts since returning she rallied for fourth in the Phoenix here on Oct. 7, a dirt sprint, and ran second to Me O Me O My as the 2-5 favorite in an optional claimer at 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf here Oct. 23.

Muir Beach carries high weight of 122 pounds and new rider Glenn Corbett, the meet's leading jockey.

Jubilee is a live new face for trainer Bart Hone. She led wire to wire to beat allowance foes on the turf at Golden Gate Fields on Aug. 31, was freshened a couple months, and came back to win wire to wire again, in a race washed off the turf at Bay Meadows on Nov. 3.

Me O Me O My, who defeated Muir Beach on in that Oct. 23 optional claimer on the turf here, has done little wrong the past year or so and comes in off five straight top-three finishes. She most recently ran third in the Wende Stakes on this course on Nov. 11. Sandi Gann rides.

Beaulena had a tough trip as the favorite in the Wende, breaking slowly and encountering traffic trouble, but she rallied to be fourth, beaten just two lengths. It was her first turf try and she handled it well. Hector Ventura Jr. rides for trainer Blaine Wright.