06/28/2002 12:00AM

Taking the measure of 'Acure'


AUBURN, Wash. - Did Acure for Geri get good because she was switched to the turf, or because she was sent long?

The answer, important as it may be for handicapping Sunday's 1 1/16-mile Irish Day Handicap at Emerald Downs, is thoroughly ambiguous.

Acure for Geri, a 3-year-old daughter of dual surface star Geri and Acure, by the accomplished dirt and turf sire Cure the Blues, began her career with an uninspiring fifth-place finish in a 5 1/2-furlong dirt race for maiden special weight horses at Turf Paradise in January. Switched to the turf and sent a mile when she returned in March, Acure for Geri posted an authoritative win over older straight maidens, then returned to win the Scottsdale Handicap at a mile on the turf via a rare double disqualification.

Her only other start came here on June 9, when she closed to finish a good third going 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt against allowance company. Bill Tollett, who trains Acure for Geri for owner Robert Verchota, found that effort most encouraging.

"I don't know whether she is better on turf or dirt, but I know one thing for sure," said Tollett. "She is no sprinter. She needs at least a mile to get rolling, so I thought she ran great in the allowance race. I think she'll run a lot better when she gets the distance she needs on Sunday. She'll be a factor in that race, for sure, and I think she has a big shot to win."

Acure for Geri will take on eight accomplished foes, including Kent Handicap winner Dolly's Hit Lady and four-time stakes winner Lasting Code.