08/25/2006 11:00PM

Vaca City Flyer cleared for takeoff

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ALBANY, Calif. - Vaca City Flyer, who has become northern California's sprint queen, gets a chance to strut her stuff in Monday's Golden Gate Fields feature for fillies and mares at six furlongs.

Steve Sherman, who trains the northern California contingent for his father, Art, is glad the 5-year-old mare, who is 5 for 5 with four straight stakes victories in northern California, is getting a chance to run.

"They don't have any added-money races for fillies and mares sprinting at this meet," he said. "Our only option appeared to be sending her to Del Mar for a race down there. It's much better when you don't have to ship."

While Golden Gate Fields racing secretary Sean Greely would have liked more than five entrants, which is all there are in Monday's race, he said, "You have to give opportunities to better horses.

"We try to cover categories for horses we have on the grounds. It's important because it offers balance to the overall program. It's difficult to fill some categories, but we want to try to run them as often as we can so that they don't have to ship down south."

The Cal Cup on Oct. 28 looms a possibility for Vaca City Flyer, whose last start was July 15, when she won the Vacaville at Solano.

"This race comes at a good time," said Steve Sherman, noting the speedy mare runs well fresh.

Vaca City Flyer, who won the Vacaville by seven lengths at odds of 3-10, will probably go off a similar price here.

Royal Kleven, the runner-up in their past two meetings, looms the main opposition.

Princess Lianna returns after two troubled races at Del Mar and has won 5 of 10 Golden Gate Fields starts.

My Dancen Diva, claimed for $32,000 out of a victory last time despite trouble, and Helen's Startax, taking a big step up, round out the field.

Vaca City Flyer has gone 6-for-7 since moving into the Sherman barn and having Dennis Carr become her regular rider.

Sherman said he and Carr have discovered something about her.

"She doesn't like to be hustled," Sherman said. "She doesn't like when you push, pump, or cowboy on her. She likes to feel she's in control."

Vaca City Flyer looks like a wire-to-wire candidate here, which is fine with Sherman.

"She's not one dimensional," Sherman said. "I always thought she was best when she's just off someone. She really likes to mix it up, and she finishes well."