07/03/2001 11:00PM

Vera Ice Lady goes again on the turf


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Following a last-place finish on dirt in May, Vera Icy Lady was pointed to an allowance race on turf on June 8 at Hollywood Park for a change of pace.

When she won the sprint in an upset, trainer Marty Jones realized that the 5-year-old Vera Icy Lady had found a new career.

On Friday, Vera Icy Lady returns in a turf sprint over 5 1/2 furlongs where she will be shorter than the 9-1 she was in June. Although she faces a competitive field of fillies and mares in an allowance race/optional claimer, her recent win makes her one to follow.

"We did a little experiment to run on the turf, and she took to it," Jones said. "She likes it here at Hollywood Park. She never acted like she wanted to run far. She gets the staggers when I run her over three-quarters."

The turf sprint is the second of eight races on a program that begins at 3:30 p.m. Vera Icy Lady, who will be ridden by David Flores, breaks from post 3 in a field of seven. Other top contenders include Flying Stuka, Exbourne Free, and Sea Reel.

Flying Stuka is a threat among the closers. A 5-year-old mare, Flying Stuka won over this course and distance on June 15, rallying from seventh place. Jazznwithwindy and Tunability, who were third and sixth behind Flying Stuka, return in Friday's race.

Tunability was claimed for $62,500 on June 15. She starts once again for owner Richard Englander and trainer Nick Canani, who had her claimed from them for $50,000 on May 24. A front-runner, Tunability, who won twice over this course at the 2000 meeting, drew the rail and will be part of the pace.

Exbourne Free and Sea Reel are returning from layoffs.

Exbourne Free has not started since finishing seventh in an allowance race in May 2000. Trained by Bobby Frankel, she has yet to win on turf in six starts. Sea Reel won the Bustles and Bows Stakes at Fairplex Park last September and was placed in two graded sprint stakes for 2-year-old fillies last summer. Trained by Caesar Dominguez, she has not run since finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes last October.

Friday's race will be Vera Icy Lady's third start of the year and final race of this meeting, which ends July 16. Since turf sprints are not run at Del Mar, Friday's race is Vera Icy Lady's best chance to win before returning to dirt for the rest of the summer.