09/26/2002 11:00PM

Anderson Stakes an early test

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - There is a learning curve for both 2-year-olds and their trainers. The horses must learn how to race, and horsemen need to be able to gauge their horses' ability and determine at what level to race them.

For trainers Brian Koriner and Greg Gilchrist, Sunday's $60,000-added Malcolm Anderson Stakes at Bay Meadows will provide some answers.

Koriner is entering Hawaiian Lyon and Tactical Strike in the six-furlong race for 2-year-olds. Gilchrist is entering Gray Jag in the race that attracted five entrants.

Both trainers feel good about their colts. But not too good.

Koriner explained that Hawaiian Lyon was purchased privately at a sale in Ocala, Fla. Hawaiian Lyon, who attracted Koriner because of his looks as well as a fast workout, won his debut and then ran second to Mr. Technique in the San Mateo Stakes on Sept. 1.

"I never thought he'd be a stakes horse," Koriner said. "I don't know if he is yet."

Koriner may have underestimated Hawaiian Lyon. He broke in a tangle, rushed up, and held on gamely in his debut. He split horses to get the lead in the lane in the stakes and gave way grudgingly to Mr. Technique.

Tactical Strike has not run since finishing fourth to Mr. Technique in the Redwood Empire Stakes at Santa Rosa on Aug. 4.

"He ran really green that day and broke terribly," Koriner said.

He has enough talent that Koriner planned to take him to Del Mar, but "he got sick. That's why he hasn't run since Santa Rosa."

Gilchrist won the Malcolm Anderson Stakes in June with Taraval and hopes to repeat under the new stakes schedule with Gray Jag.

"This horse has more speed than Taraval, but I am concerned about his staying power," Gilchrist said.

Gray Jag was the 1-5 favorite in his last start on Sept. 13. He veered in at the break and jumped shadows, but he seemed to put away his main rival, Natural Balance, on the turn. He seemed to tire down the lane, and Natural Balance got by him for an upset.

"The horse had been sick, and I probably didn't put enough training into him for that race," Gilchrist said."

Win or lose, Koriner and Gilchrist will learn a lot Sunday.

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