04/23/2003 11:00PM

Dollase has another one in nice spot


CHICAGO - Some horsemen throw a wide net over stakes races, hoping to pull up an important win in one of them, but the Southern California-based trainer Wally Dollase has been working with laser precision in Chicago. Dollase shipped the unproven Ten Most Wanted to Hawthorne for an easy victory April 5 in the Illinois Derby, and for Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap, he has brought in Bare Necessities, who should be a strong favorite.

"I've been lucky picking my spots," said Dollase, a 25 percent winner in graded stakes the last two years.

Bare Necessities has eight rivals in the 1 1/8-mile Sixty Sails. Ellie's Moment enters in good form and is a logical second choice, but the others either are in decline or unproven at the graded stakes level.

For now, Bare Necessities has carved a niche as a useful stakes horse, provided Dollase keeps managing her conservatively. Against top fillies like Got Koko and Sightseek, Bare Necessities has come up short, but she has ripped off easy wins in lower-class California stakes in her last two starts.

"I experimented a couple races against the better horses in California, and she wasn't quite able to do it," said Dollase, who trains Bare Necessities for Iron County Farms. Dollase feels the 4-year-old Bare Necessities can develop with maturity, and after giving the filly a breather this summer hopes to move her ceiling higher in the fall.

"I'd love to be able to run her in the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita," he said.

Rene Douglas has the mount on Bare Necessities, who faded late in her lone try at 1 1/8 miles but has the right style to get the distance, according to her trainer. "She's a very rate-able filly, and if you can rate them early they can go forever," Dollase said.

Besides the New York-based Ellie's Moment - second in the Grade 3 Next Move last time out - the prime upset candidates are Curious Conundrum and McKinney.

Curious Conundrum won the March 29 Lady Hallie here, a prep for the Sixty Sails, but won against a soft, short field.

Perhaps more interesting is McKinney, a 5-year-old owned by Nelson Bunker Hunt, who began her career in a $12,500 maiden claimer and ran in starter allowance races much of last season. But start by start she has evolved into a solid racehorse, and last month won her first stakes.

"Another 20 races and she'll be a champion," her trainer, Steve Asmussen, said jokingly. "She's been an old warhorse, but she's found another level now."