06/06/2008 12:00AM

Yerba Buena figures to be distance test


ALBANY, Calif. - Locally based trainers Greg Gilchrist and John Martin have only one concern about Sunday's $75,000 Yerba Buena Handicap at Golden Gate Fields - the 1 3/8-mile distance of the turf stakes.

"That's one thing we'll find out," said Gilchrist, whose Wild Promises is coming off her first stakes victory in the May 11 Mother's Day Handicap at Bay Meadows. "The one thing is they usually go pretty easily early."

Wild Promises, who has 6 wins, 5 seconds, and a third in 12 career starts, has never raced farther than 1 1/16 miles.

The Martin-trained She's Sensational has won three straight, all at a mile, which is the longest distance she has raced.

"I think she can run that far," Martin said of Sunday's distance.

The field of five has no real marathon specialists in it.

British-bred Solva has won twice at 1 1/4 miles and raced once in her native country at 1 1/2 miles, and is the closest thing to a marathoner. She won her U.S. debut on Feb. 1, 2007, in the 1 1/4-mile La Zanzara at Santa Anita but has raced only three times since. She was sixth, beaten only 1 1/2 lengths, in the Grade 2 Santa Barbara at 1 1/4 miles on April 19 after a layoff of nearly a year. She finished fifth in the Grade 1 Gamely at 1 1/8 miles on May 26 and will be making a fairly quick turnaround here, although she often ran at two-week intervals as a 3-year-old in Great Britain in 2006.

Persian Express, who trailed Solva in the Santa Barbara, and stakes-placed Model round out the field.

She's Sensational, by Point Given, was sent to Martin last year. After showing little in a sprint, she ran second in her first try at one mile and has since won three straight at that distance, the past two on turf.

Martin passed on the Mother's Day Handicap because his 4-year-old filly had already run four times at the Bay Meadows meet. Sunday's race will be her stakes debut.

"I'm glad we stayed out," he said. "It probably would have been just a bit too much."

She's Sensational has worked steadily up to this race, and Martin has altered her training a bit to prepare for it.

"We've extended her gallops to two miles," he said. "And, after works, we let her gallop out a long way."