01/14/2006 12:00AM

Colt's last a subject of debate


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Handicappers will have to make a stand on Potrero Station in Monday's Bay Meadows feature.

A 3-year-old colt trained by Greg Gilchrist, Potrero Station seems the one to beat in a $40,000 starter allowance at six furlongs that attracted a field of five.

A $125,000 purchase, he did little in his first two starts, finishing seventh both times.

Potrero Station did flash a bit of speed in his second start, then was dropped into a $25,000 maiden claimer on Dec. 14, and ran a better race than any of his Monday rivals have ever put in. He went wire to wire, winning by three in a $25,000 claimer.

Did he finally get his act together? Or was the win accomplished because he was meeting easier company? That's where handicappers must make their stand.

If Potrero Station has gotten his act together, the race is strictly for second. In his favor is the fact the Dec. 14 race he won seems to be a productive one, having already produced one next-out winner. Potrero Station also turned in a 58.80-second bullet drill a week ago.

Bettors should be cautious, though. If he won his last start simply because he was dropping in against easier, he could wind up a beaten favorite.

Both Bing and You Called graduated against better, and The Nairobi Trio was a strong second in a $25,000 claimer for winners. Desert Affair rounds out the field. He will be meeting winners for the first time after a bottom-level $12,500 maiden claiming victory.

Bing ran poorly in his last start off a claim but comes north to a claim-proof spot and gets the services of leading rider Russell Baze.

You Called did little against the talented Bold Chieftain when asked to route in his comeback and will appreciate the return to a sprint.

The value play could be The Nairobi Trio, who will also appreciate the return to a sprint after fading in the stretch of a 1 1/16-mile turf race.

Although his graduation came here at the bottom maiden-claiming level, he ran second in a $25,000 claimer against winners in his next start.

Bing and Potrero Station could set the pace with him getting a dream trip just behind them.

Trainers fined

Trainer L.A. Martinez has been fined $400 after Call Sign tested in excess of the permitted level for phenylbutazone after his Dec. 5 race.

A.L. Diaz was fined $300 for failure to have an owner properly licensed, necessitating the scratch of Fly Abby Fly in the first race Dec. 15.

Jerry Hollendorfer was fined $400 because Chasm tested in excess of the permitted level for the anti-inflammatory flunixin following his Nov. 23 race.