12/23/2003 12:00AM

Renaissance Lady's day is coming

Email

ALBANY, Calif. - In April, two months before any of Renaissance Lady's nine rivals in Saturday's $60,000-added Corte Madera were anywhere near ready to race, she won her debut at Keeneland and was immediately dubbed a "sensational prospect."

Eight months later, Renaissance Lady is still looking for her second victory, but Saturday's one-mile stakes at Golden Gate Fields could well be it.

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas and owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis, Renaissance Lady has earned $107,350. While she is winless since her debut, she ran second in four stakes, including the Grade 3 Debutante at Churchill Downs and the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies. Among the fillies who have beaten her are stablemate Be Gentle, in the Debutante, and Class Above, in the Kentucky Cup.

Renaissance Lady was eased in the Grade 2 Oak Leaf Stakes when her tongue slipped over her bit, then was far back after early traffic problems in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, both won by Eclipse Award shoo-in Halfbridled.

Renaissance Lady has worked well since the Breeders' Cup, and Lukas undoubtedly sees Saturday's race as a confidence-builder as well as a chance for a stakes victory.

While his goals for Renaissance Lady surely exceed an overnight stakes, Lukas has used northern California races as a springboard for 3-year-old success before.

Renaissance Lady will likely be a heavy favorite, but the race will be far from a walkover.

Very Vegas, Secret Corsage, and stakes-winning Church Editor, who finished one-two-three in the Bay Meadows Lassie, are in.

Very Vegas will have the lead, as she did in the Lassie, when she set comfortable fractions and held off Secret Corsage by a neck in her first race around two turns.

She led by five through the opening half-mile in the Grade 3 Miesque at Hollywood Park in her last start before fading. Secret Corsage stalked and also weakened that day but did finish in front of Very Vegas.

Renaissance Lady should be in a good stalking position similar to Secret Corsage, with the two of them making their move into the lane. Church Editor will likely be sitting behind them and will be trying to overtake them late.

Swingn' Notes, second to the talented Bending Strings sprinting two back before graduating in a 1 1/16-mile turf race, is the only other who with even a slim hope of winning.

The rest of the field seems overmatched.