10/04/2007 12:00AM

North Beach steps up on turf

EmailSAN MATEO, Calif. - Round Trip Flight, Rockella, and Gentle Charmer each won her only start over the Bay Meadows turf. North Beach is 2 for 2. Only one of them can remain perfect on the surface Saturday in the $75,000 Autumn Leaves Handicap at Bay Meadows.

Ten fillies or mares were entered in the 1 1/16-mile turf race, and eight have won or placed in stakes.

North Beach is undefeated in three turf starts, and she comes off victories over the grass in a Santa Rosa allowance and an optional claimer here. The Autumn Leaves is her stakes debut.

"She's going up the ladder," said O.J. Jauregui, trainer of North Beach. "But I think she fits well here. She's the kind of filly you just need a little patience with.

"She's the kind of filly that can sit close or lay back. With our outside draw, we'll just try to save some ground."

Jauregui took over the training of North Beach last summer for her second start. He put her on the turf and she won a maiden race here.

"I always believed in her," Jauregui said. "With the way she's built and her breeding, I thought she could handle turf."

North Beach, by the Kris S. sire Arch and out of a Dynaformer mare, is a half-sister to two stakes winners - Kilgowan, winner of the El Camino Real Derby, and Rivoltella, winner of the Washington Oaks. She's also a half-sister to Distant Charm, who won twice on the turf.

Jauregui is excited about her potential.

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

The 3-year-olds Round Trip Flight and Rockella, both trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, have won stakes at Bay Meadows. Round Trip Flight won the Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Oaks on the main track last spring, one start following a victory in an optional claimer on the turf. Rockella won the Palo Alto on the turf here in her last start.

Gentle Charmer won an optional claimer here in April and comes off a third in the Solana Beach on the Del Mar turf and a second to Saturday rival Shermeen in the Luther Burbank on the Santa Rosa turf.

Snowdrop won the Alameda County Fillies and Mares Handicap at Pleasanton in July. Live Life, who placed in the Grade 2 Beverly Hills and the Grade 1 Beverly D. last year, will make her first start since she finished last in the Grade 2 Santa Barbara at Santa Anita on April 21.