09/20/2005 11:00PM

Boss Ego returns for a tag

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Five talented older runners will meet in Friday's feature at Bay Meadows, a $40,000 claimer at one mile.

The race marks the return of 9-year-old stakes winner . Although both he and his 7-year-old stablemate, Cappucino Kid, have won nearly $700,000 between them, they have their work cut out for them.

, who won two straight at this distance at Del Mar, seems the one to beat as he moves into the barn of trainer John Martin. He can set sprinter-style fractions and appears able to carry his speed the distance.

Tough Game has a bullet work over the track since being claimed for $32,000 on Aug. 27. He has two wins and two seconds in five tries at the distance.

Raise the Heat chased a fast pace last time and faded, but he's making his third start off a layoff and should be fully cranked up to stalk here.

Like nearly every member of the field, he has proven effective at the distance, winning 3 of 4 starts and finishing second in his other try.

is 0 for 4 at the distance but won two straight before setting the pace and running fifth when claimed for this price on the turf last out. He has speed but will have to settle for a stalking trip behind Tough Game.

Cappucino Kid is equally effective on turf or dirt and could be last in the early going as he drops in his second start for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The distance is also favorable for him, with four wins and a second in six tries on the main track.

Boss Ego, winner of the 2002 San Carlos Handicap here, has earned $461,295 with 12 wins in 55 starts. He makes his first start since losing to Raise the Heat here on Feb. 5 and has generally run well fresh.

Boss Ego has the usual solid, steady work pattern that Hollendorfer employs effectively for comebackers. Hollendorfer shows 29 percent success with a $2.59 flat-bet profit with horses gone six months or more.

"We've had him a long time and wanted to take a long time bringing him back," said Hollendorfer, who noted that Boss Ego went to the sidelines with minor problems.