04/23/2009 11:00PM

No pressure on Siren Lure, trainer says


ALBANY, Calif. - Siren Lure's trainer, Steve Sherman, will never be confused with Alfred E. Neuman, but he's adopted the iconic Mad Magazine cover boy's philosophy heading into Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields.

"What, me worry?"

When Siren Lure drew the outside post in the 12-horse field for Northern California's premier racing event, Sherman simply shrugged.

"This is not a pressure race for us," he said. "We're not going in on a high pedestal like some races in the past."

Sherman would love to see the 8-year-old gelding win the race. Even if he ran third, Siren Lure would surpass $1 million in earnings.

Siren Lure will be an outsider Saturday, and not just because of his post position. The field is as good as he's faced in some time.

Ferneley, who placed in a pair of Santa Anita Grade 2's, the San Gabriel and San Marcos, earlier this year, was an impressive winner here three weeks ago in a one-mile turf race. He probably needs only to repeat that effort to notch a victory, and trainer Ben Cecil said he's coming into Saturday's race even better than he did the allowance race where he earned a 106 Beyer Speed Figure.

Sky Cape, a Grade 2 winner of the La Jolla at Del Mar last summer; Liberian Freighter, stretching out after winning the Sensational Star at Santa Anita on March 25; and the trio of Storm Military, Mr. Napper Tandy, and Bold Chieftain make this a race worthy of its grading.

For Sherman, Saturday's race is a calculated gamble with Siren Lure. He's taking a shot with a veteran runner who is on a high, with three straight victories.

"The horse is sharp right now," Sherman said. "He's training good and he looks good."

Siren Lure is a Grade 1 winner and has a 6-for-13 record on the turf. He's 0 for 2 going a mile, running fourth in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap in 2005 and 10th last year in the Thunder Road at Santa Anita.

"This distance has me a little concerned," Sherman said, "but I'm looking forward to seeing how he closes. It's always the last three-eighths where they run on the turf. Hopefully, they'll go quickly enough up front to make his late run effective."

Because he's a late-running sprinter, Siren Lure's style should play well.

Sherman hasn't worked Siren Lure on turf because he has handled it well before, including a win in his lone start here.