12/29/2007 12:00AM

Acquire the Fire on hot streak

EmailALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Rene Amescua is looking for an immediate return with Acquire the Fire when he runs him in a $25,000 optional claimer at six furlongs Monday at Golden Gate Fields.

Amescua claimed the 3-year-old gelding for AJM Racing LLC for $32,000 on Dec. 12 and he runs him back without a claiming tag in Monday's race. Acquire the Fire seeks his third straight victory over the Golden Gate Fields Tapeta surface. He won here for a $25,000 claiming price on Nov. 15, then won the day he was claimed.

Acquire the Fire ran second in his career debut as a 2-year-old and won a maiden race in his next start. He was given a six-month break and when he returned in June, he missed by a head in an optional claiming sprint over the Golden Gate dirt surface, then ran third to Another Kris in the Forrest White Stakes later that month at Stockton.

After three straight defeats by double-digit lengths in allowance or optional claiming races, Acquire the Fire was dropped in for the $25,000 on Nov. 15 and attracted Amescua's attention with a 1 1/4-length win.

Amescua said he had to win a two-way shake to get him on Dec. 12.

"He had already won over the track," Amescua said, explaining the reason he wanted to claim the horse. "Horses that like the track seem to do well, so that was part of the deciding factor. And he definitely has some good horses on the page with him."

Acquire the Fire has lost to recent Malibu winner Johnny Eves and stakes winners Another Kris, My Man Murf, and Super Image as well as the stakes-placed Victim of Love and Take the Jet. He defeated Mystic Wood, who would later be stakes-placed, when he won the maiden race.

Acquire the Fire has used his speed to get a good stalking position in both his recent victories.

He defeated 3-year-olds in his last two races and meets older horses here. His two worst defeats have come against older horses, but one of those races was at 1 1/16 miles and the other was at Del Mar.

Haraka Haraka, who drew the rail, Brite Bobby, and Lookn for the Lord should provide an honest pace for him to chase.

Stephen Bruce, cutting back in distance after running primarily on the turf this year, could provide the late competition.

British-bred Everlasting Fame makes his third start since departing Europe and first try on the main track.