10/26/2007 12:00AM

Vaca City Flyer tries to end slump

EmailTrainer Steve Sherman admits that Vaca City Flyer "kind of spoiled us last year."

Vaca City Flyer won 6 of 8 starts in 2006 but is still seeking her first victory of 2007 as she takes on six rivals in an $80,000 optional claimer at five furlongs on the Bay Meadows turf course.

The 5-year-old Vaca City Flyer is 0 for 6 this year, but she has 4 seconds and 1 third and has earned $61,644.

She lost to Bonfante when she took on males in her comeback this year. Vaca City Flyer got away slowly and was shuffled back in that race, the March 31 California Sprint Handicap, before closing nicely to finish fourth. She ran second twice to Victorina and was second to Kalookan Dancer in her last start, in the Pio Pico Stakes at Fairplex on Sept. 14.

"You can't be frustrated," said Sherman, who handles his father Art's Northern California racing string. "She's running as hard as she did last year, but the competition's tougher. It's not like she lost to any slackers.

"Last year was kind of a cakewalk at times. She got really good, but most of the top sprinters were 3-year-olds and were running in their own age group. And she's getting older. She may have lost a step from the wear and tear of racing, but it hasn't affected her heart."

There's no Victorina in Sunday's race, but there is Denaesalildevil, who set the pace when finishing third behind Victorina and Vaca City Flyer in the Vacaville Handicap and then in an $80,000 optional claimer here on Aug. 24.

Also in the race is Royal Kleven, who lost to Vaca City Flyer three times last year before winning the California Distaff Turf Handicap last Dec. 9. She returned from a 6o1/2-month layoff to win a five-furlong turf race under these conditions on Sept. 13.

Stormy Destin, making her first start here, ran third in the same race.

Three-year-olds Judicature and Eastlake Avenue won stakes earlier this year, and Tucker's Tune battled with Somethinaboutlaura for the opening half-mile in the Luck Be a Lady Handicap on Oct.o13 in her last start.