02/11/2006 1:00AM

Sierra Sweetie captures California BC Oaks


ALBANY, Calif. - Sierra Sweetie ($5.80) unleashed a strong stretch kick to capture the $96,250 at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Favored in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, Sierra Sweetie broke a bit slowly, raced between rivals down the backstretch but proved best late as she angled into the clear approaching the quarter pole and pulling away from Private World late. She won by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:43.64.

Apprentice Martin Garcia, who won the Foster City Handicap at Bay Meadows last weekend, recorded his second straight stakes victory.

"This filly overcame everything," winning trainer Jeff Bonde said. "She comes with her 'A' game every time."

Sierra Sweetie broke a step slowly, which Bonde attributed to Political Web breaking through the gate beside her before the start of the race.

"Mine walked out of the gate like a cow," he said. "The kid has great hands. She was not too rank early. She has been rank with other riders in the past.

"I didn't like being in the middle of a group of four horses down the backstretch, but I got to feeling better when he aimed her to the clear approaching the quarter pole. From that point, it was a question of who had the best horse."

Sierra Sweetie, whose four career victories have all come in stakes, earned $55,000 to increase her career total to $290,400 in seven starts. She finished second in the other three starts, including two stakes races.

Bonde said he would point Sierra Sweetie to the Kentucky Oaks and would probably run once more either at Keeneland or Oaklawn.