12/17/2005 12:00AM

Crafty Ang overdue to win

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ALBANY, Calif. - Crafty Ang, who has been his own worst enemy, will try to close out the Golden Gate Fields meet with a victory Monday. He will break from post 8 as he meets seven rivals in a six-furlong sprint for 2-year-old maidens.

Trainer Jeff Bonde surprised a lot of people when he entered Crafty Ang, coming off a 14 1/2-length loss at Del Mar, in the Bay Meadows Juvenile. Bonde knew Crafty Ang, a $90,000 Barretts purchase in May, had talent but was trouble-prone and hadn't really figured things out yet.

Bonde put blinkers back on Crafty Ang for the Juvenile and watched his colt open a three-length lead at the quarter pole. Cause to Believe, who has the best current credentials of any northern California 2-year-old, was rolling and went past, but Crafty Ang was an easy second, eight lengths in front of the third-place finisher.

Crafty Ang was favored in his next start but didn't seem to want to relax while under restraint early. He finished evenly when passed in the lane after again setting the pace for six furlongs. He relaxed better in his next start on the turf as he was again a pace factor before fading after a bumping incident at the eighth pole.

Bonde has given Crafty Ang two half-mile works since, including a 46.60-second bullet drill that was best of 45 on

Dec. 11. He also puts red-hot apprentice Martin Garcia aboard.

Dons Champion ran quite well in his debut for a $40,000 tag, impressing trainer Bill Morey enough to run him back in a straight maiden event.

Three first-timers - R Spring Affair, Giggle for Goldy, and Firebaugh - have good works. Firebaugh may be the toughest with a six-furlong bullet work, but R Spring Affair is by the good win-early sire Memo.

* Leave to Appeal hopes to conclude a perfect meet by winning Monday's co-feature, a $25,000 claimer scheduled for one mile on the turf. A 5-year-old, Leave to Appeal has won all three starts at the meeting, two on the turf and one on a wet-fast track.

* Jockeys Roberto Gonzalez and Macario Rodriquez were each fined $1,000 for an altercation after dismounting following Wednesday's eighth race.