06/06/2007 11:00PM

Two trainers excited about going long


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainers Sandy Shulman and Quentin Miller sound remarkably similar when talking about Saturday's $75,000 Yerba Buena Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

Both are eager for the chance to send their runners 1 3/8 miles on turf.

"Her game is a 'late turn of foot,' as they say in England," Shulman said of Mabadi, the runner-up in the Grade 2 Santa Barbara at Santa Anita on April 21.

"She's only got one pace, but she's honest," Miller said of Awesome Beginning, who ran third in the Mayo13 Work the Crowd here. "We love the idea of turf and this distance."

The two have six rivals, including the stakes winner Christmas Stocking, who was claimed for $62,500 two races back, and the French stakes winner Veyana, a supplemental entry who ran last in her U.S. debut at 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park May 3.

Also entered are the stakes-placed trio of Logan Avenue Linda, Sohgol, and Tahtheeb, along with Apollo Gal, who will be making her stakes debut.

Logan Avenue Linda has natural speed and should be able to grab the lead with ease. Veyana sat in a nice stalking position in her lone U.S. start and could be sitting second early. Christmas Stocking and Apollo Gal should also get stalking trips.

"Hopefully, somebody won't get an easy lead," Miller said. "I don't worry if Awesome Beginning gets 10 to 15 lengths behind. Just keep her to the outside, because once she gets going, you don't want to get her stopped."

Although Awesome Beginning has never run farther than 1 1/16 miles, Miller is convinced she will be better with the longer distance.

"Most horses don't go this distance," he said. "Most of the American horses are accustomed to 1 1/16 miles. They don't seem to go on that well beyond that, but I think mine will because she's so honest."

Mabadi graduated at 1 5/16 miles and then missed by a neck at the same distance in her stakes debut last year in England. She closed nicely to be second in the Santa Barbara, a 1o1/8-mile turf race run on a "good" course.

"We should be covered for her to run her best," Shulman said. "The one time she ran too close, she had no late kick. You have to take a little hold of her right away, but she settles in."

Shulman said he considered the May 28 Gamely at Hollywood Park for Mabadi but opted to run in the Yerba Buena because he thought that gave Mabadi a better chance at a stakes victory.

"From a broodmare standpoint, it makes sense," he said.