09/14/2007 12:00AM

Six Cents of Humor thriving on grass

EmailSAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Quentin Miller always sensed talent in the 5-year-old mare Six Cents of Humor.

Purchasing her privately after her debut at Hollywood Park in May 2005, Miller won at first asking with her in an $8,000 maiden race on Oct. 30, 2005, when she scored by 15 lengths.

She won 3 of her first 6 starts, always in modest company, but Miller kept searching for the key to unlock what he perceived as untapped talent. He finally found it this year when he switched Six Cents of Humor to the turf.

On Sunday, Six Cents of Humor will be a viable contender in Bay Meadows' feature race, a $50,000 optional claimer at one mile on the turf.

Despite the fact she just won a $40,000 claimer at Del Mar, Six Cents of Humor could offer some value because four of the 11 other runners are also coming off victories.

"Her grandfather was one of the first horses to win on the turf at the Breeders' Cup, so I always thought about the turf," Miller said, referring to Prized, the sire of her dam, Mission Viejo.

Six Cents of Humor's first three turf starts were against lower claiming-range fillies and mares. She ran third in the first two before fading badly in the lane in a $12,500 claimer.

Miller brought her back in allowance company, and she lost by a nose after leading until the final stride. She then won an allowance race on May 28.

Miller decided to take her to Hollywood Park, but before that made an unorthodox move as a prep. He sent her to Stockton on June 23 and ran her in a 4 1/2-furlong sprint on the dirt in a $4,000 starter allowance. She closed for third without seriously threatening to win.

"I did that because I wanted her to learn to pass horses and build her confidence," Miller said. "I did it as a prep."

It seemed to work.

She set the pace before finishing second in a one-mile turf race at Hollywood Park on July 11.

"I wanted to get Jorge Chavez to ride her, and he did," Miller said. "He liked the filly. Basically, he said he got beat by a better horse. He felt she was okay, but he didn't say to enter her in the Breeders' Cup."

The Aug. 18 win at Del Mar followed. Usually close on the turf, Six Cents of Humor trailed by seven through sizzling 1:09 fractions before getting up.

"Last time, she rated beautifully," said Miller, who expects her to be on the lead or at least closer to the pace on Sunday. "She's very versatile."