03/27/2008 11:00PM

Conclave goes after four wins in a row


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Billy Morey has Conclave on a roll.

Since claiming the 4-year-old gelding for $10,000 Nov. 29 at Hollywood Park, Morey has saddled him for victories in two $8,000 claimers and a first-level allowance last time out on Feb. 23. On Sunday, Conclave goes for his fourth straight win in a $50,000 optional claimer at six furlongs at Bay Meadows.

"He's been a pleasant surprise," Morey said. "When we claimed him, he ran sort of a clunker."

Morey was referring to a third-place finish, which, for a horse with 7-for-20 career record, can be considered a clunker. That was the only start in his last six that Conclave failed to win.

Conclave's last-race allowance victory came over a muddy Bay Meadows track and resulted in a career-best 93 Beyer Speed Figure. As in all three of his starts for Morey, Conclave won on the lead.

"His last race was huge," Morey said. "I don't know if the number was mud-enhanced."

Morey can't explain Conclave's improvement.

"It's got to be a confidence thing," he said. "He had a couple of big, easy wins, and all of a sudden he's got his confidence rolling.

"He seems to have a knack for winning. Some horses seem to be that way. They've got that win instinct and they put good races together. You don't see that in a horse that's 1 for 20."

Morey also entered Britt's Jules, whom he claimed on Nov. 29, 2006, a year to the day before he claimed Conclave.

Britt's Jules won his first start for Morey, then lost by a nose in the Fairfax Stakes to Vaderator and by a length to Smokey Stove in the Gradeo3 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint. After a seventh in the Oakland Handicap last April, he went to the sidelines for nine months. He's finished seventh and fourth in two starts at this level since returning to the races.

"He was as good as ever for three or four months there," Morey said. "He hasn't come back quite the same, but I think he has a shot here."

Southern Man ran second to Conclave in the Feb. 23 allowance race, but was disqualified to fourth for causing interference. He rebounded with a victory in a first-level optional claimer on March 16. He has won 2 of his last 3 starts.

Assessment brings a two-race win streak into Sunday's race, although he makes his first start in 9 1/2 months.

Political Maneuver and comebacking Diligent Prospect round out the field.