11/24/2005 1:00AM

Cause to Believe may get right setup


ALBANY, Calif. - Saturday's $50,000 Mill Valley Stakes at Golden Gate Fields attracted a deep field of 2-year-olds, including three stakes winners.

Multiple stakes winners , the likely pacesetter, and Cause to Believe, who will be coming from far off the pace, drew next to each other in the two outside posts in the field of 10 in the six-furlong race. Western Sovereign, who defeated Don Jaun Con in the Harvest Festival Futurity at the Big Fresno Fair, is also entered.

The race also includes three last-out maiden winners - Black Jack Joe, Dinner Magic, and Barber - as well as Funky Friends, who won an $80,000 optional claimer at Hollywood Park in his last start.

Although his Beyer Speed Figures are well below those of others in the Mill Valley, , an odds-on winner of the Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes and Bay Meadows Juvenile in his last two starts, should get a nice setup.

The pace should be contested, to the advantage of Cause to Believe, who has unleashed the fastest stretch runs of any 2-year-old in northern California this year.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Cause to Believe shortens up to six furlongs after going a mile in the Bay Meadows Juvenile.

Hollendorfer is also sending out Passive Income, an impressive debut winner who then ran an odds-on second to Western Sovereign.

"He was having a few minor problems, but we've got him straightened away," Hollendorfer said. "I think he'll give a better effort here."

put together a three-race win streak that was snapped when he tried to route for the first time in the Cal Cup Juvenile.

"He didn't train up to that race real well, but the jockey hadn't asked him to run yet when a horse fell in front of him just when he was ready to go," trainer Ed Moger said. "He should run well here."

Don Jaun Con, trained by William E. Morey, won a stakes at Pleasanton in July and most recently was second to Western Sovereign in the Harvest Festival Futurity.

"We're ready to go," Morey said. "My horse is training well. I know there are some fast maiden winners in here, but I think my horse is a tad more proven."

Barber earned a 90 Beyer winning his debut and Dinner Magic a 95 in his maiden victory. Both were wire-to-wire winners.

"This is not a thing I like to do, run maiden winners in a stakes race, but it's the only spot in town," said Barber's trainer, Art Sherman.

Black Jack Joe graduated here on Nov. 6. "I liked the way he looked, and he's worked well since," said trainer A.L. Diaz. "I've got no chance to run anywhere else."