10/07/2005 11:00PM

Stakes-quality field from top to bottom


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Although the scheduled Governor's Handicap did not fill, Bay Meadows will have a stakes-quality feature for its Monday holiday card.

Five fillies and mares will compete in an $80,000 optional claimer at six furlongs. Three of the runners are stakes winners, and the other two have each run second in stakes.

The one to beat in this race is Heavenly Humor, who has captured the San Jose, Soviet Problem, and Woodside over this track. Unraced since finishing seventh in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap on July 9 at Hollywood Park, Heavenly Humor has worked nicely for her return. She runs well fresh, having captured the Miss California last year off a nearly three-month layoff and the Soviet Problem here this year off a nine-month layoff.

Also entered is Vaca City Flyer, a stakes-placed horse who has seven wins and has never finished off the board in 13 career starts. She steps up off a victory in a $50,000 optional claimer, which she accomplished following a seven-month layoff.

The race also marks the comeback of Marla Bay, who hasn't run since severely cutting herself after breaking through the rail and getting tangled in it in a turf race at Hollywood Park on June 18.

"I was watching her start to pull away and wondering just how good she was and how much she'd win by, and I couldn't believe how quickly it happened," said trainer William Morey Jr. "She was cut as badly as any horse I've ever seen. I thought we just had a broodmare prospect, but the vets at the Chino Clinic and Dr. Dan Shields up here really put her together."

Marla Bay has finished second in two turf stakes, once by a head and the other by a half-length. She has worked sensationally, with three straight bullet drills, including two at six furlongs.

Completing the field are Beezer, winner of the Vacaville in July, and Thrilling Victory, who won the Bay Meadows Oaks in April.