12/09/2004 12:00AM

'Blues' looks to end drought


ALBANY, Calif. - After 45 years of being involved with training Thoroughbreds, trainer Ted West is not given to rash statements.

But he can't help but be excited by Bluesthestandard, whom he helps his son Ted H. West train.

The elder West believes Bluesthestandard will notch his 16th career victory in Saturday's $50,000-added Oakland Handicap at Golden Gate Fields and creep closer to the million-dollar mark in career earnings. He has earned $928,818.

Bluesthestandard looks for his first win since the Grade 2 Palos Verdes on Feb. 1. That was his first race after a dynamite second-place finish in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint, where he earned a career-high 114 Beyer that he tied in the Palos Verdes.

"I fully expect him to go up and run one of his lifetime bests," West said from his son's barn at Santa Anita on Wednesday. "He didn't go into the Breeders' Cup any better than he's coming into this race."

West says his son is sending the 7-year-old gelding north for a confidence builder.

"He's so competitive. He knows who wins," West said. "He wants to win."

With the exception of the Pirate's Bounty at Del Mar on Sept. 6 off a five-month layoff, Bluesthestandard has run in graded stakes in 12 of his previous 13 starts.

"We've run against the absolute nuts, and we'd like to let him beat up somebody, but this is no easy spot," West said.

On Oct. 10, Bluesthestandard turned in a rare subpar effort in the Grade 1 Ancient Title.

"He didn't run in the Breeders' Cup because that last was unaccountably bad," West said.

What has West excited about Saturday's race is a best-of-63 workout on Tuesday, when Bluesthestandard covered a half-mile in 45.20 seconds.

Bluesthestandard has six rivals in the six-furlong Oakland, all stakes winners: Green Team, Onebadshark, Saint Afleet, Halo Cat, My Captain, and Allwood. Bluesthestandard drew the outside post and will be off the pace early.

Onebadshark and My Captain provide plenty of speed in the race; Green Team, Halo Cat, and Saint Afleet will be sitting close. Halo Cat and Allwood will run as an entry.

Russell Baze, who took off mounts Thursday after being unseated Wednesday, is listed to ride Halo Cat.