11/09/2007 1:00AM

North Beach faces tough assignment

EmailALBANY, Calif. - Trainer O.J. Jauregui has been a fan of North Beach since she arrived in his barn last year.

"I always believed in her," he said. "Every day, I have high hopes for her, and every day she proves more to me."

North Beach ran second in her stakes debut Oct. 6 in the Autumn Leaves at Bay Meadows. On Sunday, she will seek her first stakes victory in the $75,000 Miss America at 1 1/8 miles on the turf at Golden Gate Fields.

Eight fillies and mares signed up for the race, including stakes winners Gemstone Rush, Round Trip Flight, Double Trouble, and Grat.

North Beach won her first three turf starts. In the Autumn Leaves, she couldn't outfinish Private Banking while holding second with relative ease.

North Beach has worked nicely since that start with three drills, including a six-furlong bullet.

Brazilian-bred Double Trouble is seeking her first U.S. stakes victory. She was a Group 2 winner in her native country and has scored two allowance victories since joining Bobby Frankel's barn this past spring.

Double Trouble was fourth in her return from a layoff in the Oct. 8 Swingtime at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet. Favored in each U.S. start, she will probably be favored again Sunday with a solid comeback under her belt. She figures to get a good stalking trip as Joel Rosario comes north to ride her.

Jerry Hollendorfer-trained stablemates Gemstone Rush and Round Trip Flight come into the race off stakes placings.

Round Trip Flight, a 3-year-old, won the Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Oaks in April and then ran third here in the Golden Poppy on turf in May. She was third in the Autumn Leaves, making up ground late.

Gemstone Rush, who has won over the course, went to Washington, where she won the $100,000 Emerald Downs Distaff Handicap on Aug. 19 and then was third in the Belle Roberts on Sept. 16 in her last start.

Grat is making her first start since a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Santa Barbara at Santa Anita on April 21. She opened her 2007 campaign winning the Glendale Handicap on the turf at Turf Paradise.

Higher Love has won 2 of her last 3 starts while moving up from the $6,250 claiming ranks to allowance company. Charming Legacy comes off an allowance victory at this distance and has not finished worse than second since her first race of the year in March.

Temperance won two back before losing to Charming Legacy in her last start.