01/30/2008 1:00AM

Bob Black Jack to stretch out


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer James Kasparoff's opinion of Bob Black Jack may seem a little crazy after the colt ran six furlongs in a world-record time of 1:06.53 in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash at Santa Anita last Saturday.

"He's not a speed freak," Kasparoff said.

Kasparoff will have plenty of chances to prove his point in coming months. Wednesday, Kasparoff said that Bob Black Jack emerged from the Sunshine Millions Dash "very well" and that the colt's next start will come in a race around two turns, probably in the $150,000 El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows at 1 1/16 miles on March 8.

"I don't see any problem with stretching the horse out," Kasparoff said. "He's pretty relaxed. I don't want to keep sprinting him. It's hard on the horse."

Kasparoff said he likes the timing between the Sunshine Millions Dash, for California-breds and Florida-breds, and the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby.

"He's good once a month," he said of the colt.

The wickedly fast time in the Sunshine Millions Dash must be taken in context: Santa Anita's synthetic Cushion Track surface has been remarkably quick since it was installed last summer. Bob Black Jack broke a track record that had lasted five days, since In Summation ran a seemingly pedestrian 1:06.67 in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Handicap.

In the Sunshine Millions Dash, Bob Black Jack led throughout, setting early fractions of 20.92 and 42.26 seconds. He pulled away to win by 3 1/2 lengths.

Owned by Jeff Harmon and Tim Kasparoff, Bob Black Jack has won 3 of 5 starts and $268,925. He won the California Breeders' Champion Stakes at seven furlongs by a convincing 6 1/4 lengths on Dec. 26.

James Kasparoff said that the partners have received offers for the horse, but that there is no plan to sell the star of his three-horse stable.

"I'm going to tell people that's he's not for sale," Kasparoff said. "What could he be worth if he does route?"

Dearest Trickski to rest up for Las Flores

Dearest Trickski, winner of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint, will be given a two-month break, trainer John Sadler said Wednesday. A former $10,000 claimer who won her first stakes in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes in December, Dearest Trickski will be rested in advance of a start in the $150,000 Las Flores Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs on April 6.

"Our goal was the La Brea and the Sunshine Millions," he said, emphasizing that Dearest Trickski is not injured.

Celtic Dreamin, the runner-up in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic, and Nashoba's Key, second in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf, are likely to start in March.

Celtic Dreamin will be pointed for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 1, trainer Rafael Becerra said.

Nashoba's Key, the odds-on favorite in the Filly and Mare Turf, may return in the $300,000 Santa Margarita Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the main track on March 9, trainer Carla Gaines said. She said the upcoming surface maintenance project will influence her decision, depending on "if the main track is nice after they do all this stuff to it."

Awesome Gem's options open

Saturday's program features five consecutive stakes, four of which are graded, and a surprise entrant in the lone non-graded stakes, the $75,000 Thunder Road Handicap at a mile on turf.

Awesome Gem, third in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27 as a 28-1 longshot, is entered in the Thunder Road, but could be held out of the race in favor of Sunday's $250,000 San Antonio Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

Trainer Craig Dollase said the weather will play a factor in his decision.

"I don't really know" which race Awesome Gem will run in, Dollase said. "I think we're in good shape for his first race back."

The first stakes on the 11-race program is the $200,000 Robert Lewis Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, the fifth race. The recent maiden winners Crown of Thorns and Reflect Times will make their stakes debuts in it.

The sixth race, the $100,000 La Habra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the hillside turf course, has drawn 10, including Set Play, the winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante in September.

The $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap at seven furlongs, rescheduled from Sunday's canceled card last weekend, has six fillies and mares, including defending champion Pussycat Doll and Grade 1 winner Hystericalady.

The Thunder Road, the eighth race, drew 14, but will be limited to 12 starters.

The most lucrative race of the day is the final stakes, the $300,000 Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles. Air Commander and Tiago, first and third in the San Fernando Stakes here on Jan. 12, are the top contenders in a field of nine.

Yankee Bravo may go in Sham

Yankee Bravo, who won the Golden Gate Derby on Sunday to stay unbeaten in three starts, may make his next start in the $200,000 Sham Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on March 1, trainer Paddy Gallagher said Wednesday.

Gallagher said a decision hinges on discussions with the partners who own the colt, who began his career with a maiden win in England and won his U.S. debut in the Eddie Logan Stakes on turf here in late December.

"That was only his third race," Gallagher said. "You hope he can step up. I suppose we'll talk it over with the guys."