08/25/2004 11:00PM

Classic Fool, '03 shocker, still a bomb in repeat bid


SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Classic Fool figures to be about 40-1 in Saturday's $60,000 Governor's Handicap at the California State Fair. In other words, he may have his eight rivals in the 1 1/8-mile race just where he wants them.

Classic Fool is the defending champ in the race, and if he wins again it will be considered a major upset as he meets the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained trio of Yougottawanna, Gold Ruckus, and Snoopy Cat.

But nothing can match the drama of last year's $84.80 upset, when Classic Fool defeated Ulterior Motives by a half-length to score the only win of his career. Classic Fool, who was 0 for 19 at the time and is winless in 16 starts since, was running against a powerful Hollendorfor duo of Metatron and Cappuchino, both of whom had placed in graded stakes.

The task looks equally tough for Classic Fool in his bid for a repeat. However, he benefited from a brisk pace last year, and there's decent speed signed up for Saturday's edition as well. The 1 1/8-mile distance also played into his hand, and could help again. But it's hard to picture either factor helping him enough to win this year.

Yougottawanna set the pace in the $100,000 Joseph Grace at Santa Rosa before settling for second, and although he might be better sitting just off the pace, he has the speed to control this race.

The consistent Gold Ruckus may be the Hollendorfer entrant to fear most if Yougottawanna gets involved early in an endurance-draining duel with the likes of Cree and Sanger.

Gold Ruckus hasn't run a bad race since his return last fall after fracturing his shoulder in the spring. He comes off a sixth-place finish in the Wickerr Handicap on the turf at Del Mar, but he bobbled at the break and had traffic problems late.

The third Hollendorfer runner, Snoopy Cat, has won at the distance and will be sitting off the pace with Gold Ruckus.

Cree, who set the pace and lost by a head at Santa Rosa in his last start, is likely to attempt to go to the lead. He has turned in three decent tries against allowance rivals since being claimed for $12,500 in May.

Find My Halter has three wins, a second, and a third in his past five starts, all in stakes races in Idaho. He was running for a $12,500 tag this spring at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows. He is sharp and could get a first-run trip from the stalkers in the field.