02/02/2006 12:00AM

Turf Paradise track report


Muir Beach did everything right in the Kachina Handicap at Turf Paradise Jan. 14. Trouble was, she didn't win.

But that race marked her first outing in over five months, so Muir Beach might now be set for her best race, and that could be bad news for her opposition in the $40,000 Princess of Palms Handicap at Turf Paradise. The six-furlong race for fillies and mares lured nine, among them Kresgeville, who spoiled Muir Beach's comeback run, and Lil Easy, an early sizzler in the best form of her life.

But the race goes through Muir Beach. Last season's co-horse of the meet, she has had a marvelous career. Owned by Dennis Weir and trained by Dan McFarlane, Muir Beach, 5, has won 10 of 28 starts and has 10 seconds for earnings of over $355,000. She won this race last year, beating some of the same foes she meets again Saturday.

After a super Turf Paradise meet last year, in which she won five stakes, she shipped to Southern California and did well, finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Hawthorne at Hollywood Park, fourth in the Tranquility Lake on the turf there, third in the Grade 2 A Gleam at Hollywood, and sixth in the Grade 2 Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar in August.

She received time off and returned in last month's one-mile Kachina, a race she also won in 2005. She finished strongly, but couldn't reel in the winner, Kresgeville. Muir Beach will be ridden by Joel Campbell.

Meanwhile, Kresgeville on Saturday can prove that the Kachina win no fluke. Owned by the Sandra Hall Trust and trained by Lyman Rollins, Kresgeville set the pace that day but was under constant pressure. Four of her five career wins have come at Turf Paradise, and while she led wire to wire last time, she has shown she can stalk and finish while sprinting. Glenn Corbett rides Kresgeville.

Lil Easy makes this more than a two-horse race. Owned and trained by Jacque Guerra, the 5-year-old mare has blistering speed and has won three of her last four starts, including the Kathryn Doll and Excess Energy. She was last seen dueling on the lead in the 4 1/2-furlong Quick N Cool on the turf here Jan. 8, and couldn't outfinish Southern California invader Fortunately. Lil Easy has since had two bullet works. Vince Guerra rides at 118 pounds

* Turf Paradise will not hold live racing on Super Bowl Sunday. The track will still be open for full-card simulcasting. Live racing returns Monday and Tuesday.