08/21/2005 11:00PM

Anyone's guess how 'Squire' runs


DEL MAR, Calif. - , the multiple stakes-winning sprinter, returns from a layoff of more than 14 months at Del Mar on Wednesday. His comeback has left trainer Jeff Mullins unsure what to expect.

It seems Captain Squire is something of a poker player, at least when it comes to hinting to Mullins how he is training for his return in a 5 1/2-furlong optional claimer.

"He gives you that blank face," Mullins said.

Captain Squire has five opponents, the most prominent of which is Siphonizer, the winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity in 2003.

Captain Squire, 6, has not started since finishing third in an allowance race at a mile on turf at Hollywood Park in June 2004. His four most recent starts have been on turf, a span that includes a win in an $80,000 claimer in March 2004 at Santa Anita and a second in the Grade 2 San Francisco Breeders' Cup Handicap at Bay Meadows a month later.

In Wednesday's race, which carries a purse of $70,000, Captain Squire is entered to be claimed for $125,000.

"We need to see where we are with him," Mullins said. "He's had some ankle and knee problems, just old wear and tear. He's ready to run that far."

Captain Squire was outstanding in sprints in 2002 and 2003. He won the Grade 2 Laz Barrera Stakes at Hollywood Park in 2002. The following year, he won the Sunshine Millions Sprint and finished third in the $2 million Golden Shaheen Sprint in Dubai. The Sunshine Millions Sprint is his last stakes win.

The only other member of the six-horse field eligible to be claimed is Hasty Kris, who was scratched from Sunday's Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap. Trained by John Sadler, Hasty Kris is already a winner at this meeting, in an optional claimer at seven furlongs July 22. In that race, Hasty Kris stalked the pace to early stretch and pulled clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths.

Wednesday's race marks Siphonizer's first start at Del Mar since the 2003 Del Mar Futurity. Trained by Richard Mandella, Siphonizer is winless in his last four starts. He finished fourth in a restricted stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park on June 17.

Siphonizer will wear blinkers for the first time Wednesday.

The other three entrants are Jeffries Bay, OnebadsharkJ, and Zanzibar. They have stakes experience but ran poorly in their last starts.