05/29/2003 12:00AM

Reliable Lacie Girl loves the distance


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Saturday's $60,000-added Sunnyvale Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares, gives several local runners a chance to compete at their best distance.

Lacie Girl, northern California's best and most consistent 4-year-old filly, heads a field of six runners. Lacie Girl has not finished worse than second in nine starts in northern California and is only a nose loss shy of being undefeated at Saturday's distance.

The highweight at 120 pounds, Lacie Girl is the favorite in the race with her strong closing kick.

Her first loss in northern California was by a nose to the Chilean stakes winner Ema Bovary in the Soviet Problem Handicap on March 23 at Golden Gate Fields.

Lacie Girl then was second behind runaway winner Maria's Mirage in the five-furlong Woodside Handicap in her turf debut here on April 20. She was second in the one-mile Santa Clara on the main track here May 3.

Though she is by Editor's Note and would appear to like two turns, Lacie Girl has been at her best at six furlongs. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said she is versatile.

"When I get a horse that likes a certain distance, I try to keep the horse there," said Hollendorfer. "It doesn't bother her to change distances. That's why I've done it the past several races."

Lacie Girl has no quirks that present problems in the morning, but regular rider Russell Baze knows he has to keep her interested early when it's time to race and to keep her in the clear.

Six furlongs on the dirt seems Lacie Girl's optimum trip, and the distance is definitely what trainers Art Sherman and Bill Mahorney also were looking at for their entrants.

Sherman sends out Fancee Bargain, who became a stakes winner for the first time last year at the age of 6. She was eighth in the Woodside after a five-month layoff.

"I wish it were dirt, and five furlongs is not her best distance," Sherman said before that race.

She has worked well since.

Mahorney enters Marty's Zee, who set a pressured pace on a wet track in the Santa Clara. Although she has run well at a mile, she has had her most success at six furlongs.

A B Noodle, northern California's best 3-year-old turf filly last year, returns from a seven-month layoff. Icy Choice, winner of her past two sprints, rounds out the field.

* Jockey Macario Rodriquez will be sidelined for six weeks. He fractured his right clavicle and right ankle in Monday's last race at Bay Meadows when his mount Final Reduction fell. Final Reduction had to be euthanized.