11/07/2005 12:00AM

Bai and Bai's Cal Cup upset is the north's lone success


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Bill Delia is basking in the glow of northern California's only Cal Cup victory.

His bargain purchase Bai and Bai turned the tables on the Jeff Bonde-trained Sierra Sweetie on Sunday, when they ran one-two in the at Oak Tree at Santa Anita. In their previous meeting, Sierra Sweetie beat Bai and Bai in the Carmel Handicap at Bay Meadows on Oct. 9.

"It was very exciting," said Delia of arguably the second biggest win of his career, next to the 1997 California Derby with I'm a Jewel, who was a $6,000 purchase.

Delia said he felt confident going into the race with Sierra Sweetie as the favorite.

"The first time I ran her against Jeff's horse, it was almost an afterthought," he said. "I was going to train her up to Cal Cup, but Greg Brent called from the racing office and said the field for the Carmel was light. I said, 'What the hell,' and nominated her. She was coming back a little quick, but it was still another month to Cal Cup. She ran a hell of a race even though she was kind of green. She needed the race. I knew she would improve off it."

Bai and Bai was purchased by owner Harry Wilson for $3,200 at the Northern California September yearling sale in 2004.

"I thought after I bought her that cheap maybe something was wrong," said Delia. "But we checked her thoroughly and found nothing, so I thought maybe we stole her."

Bai and Bai made her debut in a $32,000 claimer, and Delia ran her at the same level when she won her second start.

"We were scared when we ran her for $32,000 the second time, but it was the right thing to do," Delia said. "I know somebody had a claim filled out for her but tore it up at the last second."

Ferndale player cashes on Cup Day

Robert Miranda, a handicapper from Ferndale, had the biggest hit in the Breeders' Cup pick six, connecting nine times with five of six. No one had all six winners, and only 40 tickets had five.

Miranda and several friends played a $1,728 ticket (9x6x2x4x2x1). After taxes, their winning check was for $585,304.

Earlier this year, Miranda hit the biggest pick six in the history of the Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale.

"When they told us it was for $18,000, we couldn't believe it," he said.

Miranda said he tapes stakes races and plays the Breeders' Cup pick six every year. In 2001 and 2002, he also had five of six winners. In the scandal-plagued 2002 running, a ticket with five of six winners was also the winning payoff, and Miranda cashed two tickets.

"From a gambler's standpoint, it's the best day of the year," Miranda said. "The Breeders' Cup offers a level playing field for a guy like me. It's fun to me. I look at tapes and see as many Breeders' Cup horses as I can see."

Miranda originally had Filly and Mare Turf winner Intercontinental on his ticket, but only because he was going to play the "all" box in the race. When he found out that Leroidesanimaux's tender foot would require a special shoe, he decided not to single him in the Mile. He added Artie Schiller to the ticket and cut back in the Filly and Mare Turf.

"I knew we were dead before [Intercontinental] hit the backstretch," Miranda said. "In retrospect, she was the only sharp horse in the race and the only speed. I should have known better. Plus, she's a full sister to [2001 winner] Banks Hill."

Although he was rooting as a fan for Lost in the Fog and included him on the ticket, Miranda said he thought Lost in the Fog hadn't looked comfortable in his lone Belmont start, the Riva Ridge. So Miranda looked for another horse in the Sprint and liked Silver Train because, he said, Silver Train seemed to have enough speed to get a good stalking trip the way the race figured to set up.

Miranda said he loved Pleasant Home in the Distaff because of her strong race against the bias in her previous start at Keeneland. He liked Shirocco in the Turf because it was his third start of the year, and because he was being bet down in Europe. Miranda singled Saint Liam in the Classic.

My Creed vs. Kilgowan in feature

Stakes winners abound on the Wednesday card at Golden Gates Fields. Multiple stakes winner My Creed seems the one to beat in the feature, a one-mile $80,000 optional claimer, but he will have to beat Kilgowan, who loves the track at Golden Gate and won last year's El Camino Real Derby here.

The first race, a $12,500 starter allowance, is also interesting.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was looking for a confidence-building spot for Shadow Raider, who has proven game on the lead in recent stakes tries, including runner-up efforts in the California Turf Championship and Grade 3 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap. Though Shadow Raider should win, this is anything but an easy race. There will be plenty of pace pressure, and a revitalized Sea to See is entered against him.

* Fillies will be featured this weekend, with 20 3-year-olds nominated to Saturday's $75,000 Moment to Buy at 1 1/16 miles on turf and 15 2-year-olds nominated to Sunday's $50,000-added Piedmont at six furlongs.