10/09/2001 12:00AM

'Cop' ready to fulfill potential


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Dan Hendricks had thought that by this time in Good Cop Bad Cop's career, the 3-year-old colt would be good enough to run in the California Cup. But Good Cop Bad Cop has done everything just a little slower than first anticipated.

Good Cop Bad Cop is still eligible for a California-bred first-condition allowance race. But he has run three strong races since returning from a 10-month layoff, and he is bred to run well on turf, which makes him one of the leading contenders in Thursday's featured seventh race at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting.

The feature, at one mile on turf, is an optional-claiming race. Seven of the nine runners are eligible for the first-level allowance condition, with two in for a $40,000 claiming price. The nine-horse field equals the largest of the day. Only 58 horses, an average of 7.25 per race, were entered in the day's eight races.

Good Cop Bad Cop, bred and owned by Marty and Pam Wygod, was bought back out of a sale for $175,000 before he ever raced. "We always thought a lot of him," said Hendricks. Last year, however, Good Cop Bad Cop failed to win in four starts, then had arthroscopic surgery to remove "a very small flake" from an ankle, Hendricks said.

Good Cop Bad Cop returned to win against maidens at Del Mar, then was third and second in two subsequent starts at this condition. His previous seven races all have been on dirt. But Hendricks believes Good Cop Bad Cop will run well on turf, because he is by Bertrando and out of a Pass the Glass mare.

Hendricks, who has five wins and 12 seconds in his last 30 starts, noted that progeny of Bertrando usually take to turf.

Hendricks believes Good Cop Bad Cop is slowly making progress, and that a big move forward is coming soon. "He just needs to get it all together," he said.

Good Cop Bad Cop can ill afford to make any mistakes on Thursday, or else the opportunistic Bastion will pounce. Bastion improved sharply this summer after being claimed by trainer Nick Hines, who moved Bastion to the turf. Bastion went back to the main track last time at Santa Anita on Sept. 26, and finished fourth in an allowance race in which Good Cop Bad Cop was second. Bastion finished seven lengths behind Good Cop Bad Cop, but now Bastion is returning to turf, and he has never finished worse than second in five grass starts.

Rail Man has an upset look. He faced much tougher competition at Del Mar in his last start.

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