07/24/2006 11:00PM

Will 'Bounty' take to the turf?


Trainer Ricardo Perez is happy to be returning to the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa. He's even happier that he's bringing Loyal Bounty with him.

Perez had a great meeting here in 2005 with two wins, a pair of seconds, and a third from eight starters. His return on investment was a hefty $6.75.

Loyal Bounty, claimed by Perez for $8,000 on May 7, drew the outside post in a full field of 10 fillies and mares in Thursday's feature, a $40,000 starter race at one mile on the turf.

"I thought she would be good enough to run for $12,500," said Perez. "She worked fast. My clients liked her so we decided to take a shot."

Loyal Bounty moved from the $8,000 to the $32,000 level in her first start for Perez. She got shuffled back to the quarter pole on the second turn before unleashing a strong rally to win by a length. She was then a distant second against older in a starter allowance around two turns on dirt at Pleasanton.

"I think she likes two turns," Perez said. "She ran pretty good the past two times."

Loyal Bounty has above-average turf breeding, with a 332 Tomlinson rating, but Perez isn't sure how she will run on grass.

Perez does well with the dirt-to-turf switch as well as on the turf in general. He said he believes horses need extra conditioning to be successful on the turf.

"I get on my horses myself, and I try to get them in condition to go long," Perez said. "I just train them with long gallops. It's important to get a good foundation under them and get them in good condition to go the distance."

Loyal Bounty, who should get a great stalking trip, is one of five runners in the main field and one of six overall with a turf win.

Generals Wardancer has a win, a second, and a third in eight turf tries, while probable pacesetter Our Mitzy has a first and a second in her two turf appearances.