07/29/2006 12:00AM

Battle of former stakes runners


SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Been there, done that.

That sums up the field for Monday's Sonoma County Fair feature, in which six older runners will compete at a mile on the turf for a $40,000 claiming tag. There's a multiple stakes winner, Boss Ego; a graded-stakes winner, Kilgowan; the multiple stakes-placed Apollo King; and the turf stakes-placed Right Proof. Dancing Pioneer, whose three career victories have all come on turf, and Nose to It, a recent winner making his turf debut, round out the field.

Boss Ego, 10, has won 13 of 60 starts and could go over $500,000 in earnings with a victory here. After racing at a mile or 1 1/16 miles in his previous six starts, Boss Ego returned in a six-furlong race last time out and closed nicely to finish second by a half-length. He will be a pace factor from the rail Monday, especially with Roberto Gonzalez aboard. Boss Ego's drawback is that he is not fond of the turf, on which he has 1 win in 14 tries.

Kilgowan won the El Camino Real Derby as a 3-year-old in March 2004 and finished third in the $100,000 Joseph T. Grace over this course last year. He is winless since the El Camino Real Derby, however, a span of 15 races, and the only time he placed on turf was in the Grace.

Apollo King finished second in the James Lyttle here two years ago, and he has a win and a second-place finish in his past two turf starts.

Right Proof, third in last year's March Madness Starter Handicap on the turf at Santa Anita, is the turf specialist of the field. He is royally bred, with three multiple stakes-winning siblings. Right Proof has been the beaten favorite in his last two starts, including a $32,000 claiming race at Hollywood Park last time out, when he took the lead in the lane but was caught at the wire.

Dancing Pioneer was third over the course last year. He prefers turf and comes off a third against similar in his last start at Hollywood Park.

Nose to It seems a bit overmatched in his turf debut but got a confidence-building victory for a $6,250 tag in his second start for a new barn last time.