04/07/2003 11:00PM

Bonde quartet needs better luck


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Jeff Bonde is known for the success he has with his good young stock.

On Thursday, he enters speedy Hajji Babe and her talented stablemate Jaciro in a six-furlong, $50,000 optional claimer for 3-year-old fillies.

On Saturday, he will send out stakes-winning Mr. Technique and Souvenir's Lad in the $100,000 California Derby.

The two fillies seem like standouts Thursday, though they were beaten by Dancing Spray in their last start March 12 at Bay Meadows.

"I hope they don't get in each other's way like they did last time," Bonde said.

The stablemates bumped at the break, but Hajji Babe was able to get the lead before tiring late and being passed by her stablemate. Then Dancing Spray caught Jaciro at the wire.

Meanwhile, Mr. Technique seemed to be a rising star after winning a pair of stakes last summer and unleashing a scintillating stretch run in winning the San Mateo Stakes at Bay Meadows on Sept. 1.

He is winless since, but his three starts have come in graded races, and he's had his share of problems each time.

In the seven-furlong San Vicente at Santa Anita, "the jockey overrode him early, and he didn't have any punch," Bonde said. "It was my mistake in the El Camino [March 8]. I had the jockey try to take him back, and he never leveled off and ran. We're going to change some things up."

Bonde is making some equipment changes that he believes will allow the colt to modify his high-headed running style and allow him to get more power from his hind legs.

Mr. Technique seems to like the Bay Meadows surface. He won his lone start here and has worked well here since the El Camino.

Bonde is aware he is asking a lot of Souvenir's Lad, who has run only three times. Souvenir's Lad, who has never run farther than six furlongs, is being asked to run 1 1/8 miles Saturday.

Souvenir's Lad won his debut in a two-furlong race last March. He then went to Churchill Downs for the Three Chimney's Juvenile on May 4. He ran seventh, from post 13, and came out of the race with a shin problem that sidelined him for the rest of the year.

He won his comeback on March 13, wire to wire.

Bonde said he couldn't find a more appropriate race at Bay Meadows to prepare Souvenir's Lad to run 1 1/8 miles Saturday.

"He's a good horse, and he's doing very well," he said. "Both times he's run here, he's shown a lot of heart."