05/11/2006 12:00AM

Vaca City Flyer out to repeat turf success


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Vaca City Flyer loves to win races, but trainer Art Sherman didn't know what to expect when he entered her in a turf stakes in her last start.

All she did was smash a 31-year-old course record and win her second straight stakes.

On Saturday, she will have the outside post as seven fillies and mares meet in the $60,000-added Monterey Handicap at five furlongs on turf.

The field includes Awesome Lady, who won this race last fall, and Heavenly Humor, who has five stakes wins but will be making her turf debut.

made easy work of the field in the Rockridge overnight stakes in her turf debut at Golden Gate Fields on April 23. Her 55.28-second clocking broke Black Tornado's 31-year-old course record of 56 seconds.

"That was a big effort for me," Sherman said. "I didn't know how she'd run, but she handled the grass. In Southern California, you have the option to work on the grass, and can talk to the jock about how they handle it. When you can't get on turf up here, you're kind of guessing."

Sherman guessed right as Vaca City Flyer skipped over the surface, going wire to wire as she pulled away through the stretch.

She meets a tougher group here.

engage in a spirited pace duel.

Vaca City Flyer had no traffic problems when she met Heavenly Humor last fall and wilted under Heavenly Humor's pressure after leading down the backstretch.

Russell Baze, who rode Heavenly Humor that day, will attempt to get the same kind of trip here.

While both runners have speed, neither needs to be on the lead to win. Dennis Carr, aboard Vaca City Flyer, will have the strategic advantage as well as the knowledge his filly can handle the turf.

Baze is not concerned that this is Heavenly Humor's turf debut.

"It could be a factor, but she's so athletic, it shouldn't be," he said.