12/01/2004 12:00AM

Turf Paradise track report


There has never been any doubt about Very Vegas's ability - just her style. She's a speed demon, and she goes out as fast as she can as long as she can, a style that has worked decently. Going into last Saturday's $50,000 Queen of the Green Handicap at a mile on the turf, she had five victories and more than $222,000 in earnings. Included in those victories were stakes wins at Turf Paradise and a victory on turf sprinting at Santa Anita. She also placed in stakes at Hollywood Park, Monmouth, and The Meadowlands.

But when Very Vegas was passed in midstretch last Saturday by such toughies as favored Muir Beach, it seemed she was done and that the mile distance had been a smidge too far.

Wrong. Very Vegas, under leading rider Mick Ruis, came back on along the rail and got the win, pushing her career earnings to over $252,000 for trainer Marcelo Polanco and the Everest Stable.

"I had already stolen half the race," Ruis said, "So I let the others battle to the front and came charging back along the rail. I've ridden this filly before, so I know what she's capable of."

The rally brought her home a neck in front of Muir Beach and a length clear of Shezsospiritual and Cal's Baby, who finished in a dead heat for third.

Very Vegas could resurface in the either the $40,000 Mesa Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt on Dec. 18, or the $40,000 Kachina Handicap at a mile on Jan. 15.

* Jockey Navin Mangalee emerged unscathed after a nasty spill in the seventh race Tuesday. He was urging his mount, Double Dose, to split horses when it happened. The opening Mangalee was going for "opened and closed suddenly," he said. "I knew I was in trouble."

Mangalee's mount clipped heels, stumbled, and unseated him. Double Dose was not injured.