08/23/2007 12:00AM

Somethinaboutlaura vs. the boys

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Saturday's $100,000 California Turf Championship Handicap at Bay Meadows is being billed as a battle of the sexes.

Somethinaboutlaura, a 5-year-old mare closing in on millionaire status, faces the male horses Epic Power and Now Victory in the one-mile turf race. Somethinaboutlaura carries 121 pounds, which taking her allowance as a female facing males into consideration makes her the nominal highweight over Epic Power and Now Victory, who each carry 122.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, though not pleased he has to run against the boys and concede weight on the scale, thinks the California Turf Championship is the best option for Somethinaboutlaura. He decided not to run her in the Aug. 17 Rancho Bernardo, a Grade 3, $200,000 sprint on the Del Mar Polytrack, or the $125,000 Solana Beach, a one-mile turf race for fillies and mares also scheduled Saturday at Del Mar.

"I didn't like the way she was training at the track at Del Mar," Hollendorfer said. "She wasn't doing what we wanted. If she'd run in the Rancho Bernardo, it might have compromised her. I didn't think the turf course fit her, either."

With a bankroll of $913,315, Somethinaboutlaura has won 15 of 27 starts and 5 of 7 this year. She has won four straight, capped by the Grade 2 A Gleam at Hollywood Julyo6. She has four wins, a second and a third in six turf starts.

Somethinaboutlaura has plenty of speed but will probably end up stalking the pace in California Turf Championship, with Now Victory setting the pace and Epic Power also sitting close in a stalking position.

Now Victory comes off a solid repeat win in the Joseph T. Grace on Aug. 4 at Santa Rosa. Trained by Dean Pederson, the 6-year-old Now Victory returned from a seven-month layoff May 28 in the 1 3/8-mile Grade 3 Golden Gate Fields Breeders' Cup Handicap. He opened a big advantage early under steady fractions, and tired to finish fourth. He ran second in the Korbell Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 30, despite having his saddle slip.

"That day I was more proud of him with the way he handled himself," said Pederson.

Pederson said he will probably just ship him over from his temporary stall in Pleasanton the morning of the race.

"At this point, he's fit, and he has three races under his belt," he said.