11/29/2001 1:00AM

El Dorado Shooter back on scene

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ALBANY, Calif. - El Dorado Shooter, perhaps northern California's best sprinter, had his first workout after a six-month layoff at Golden Gate Fields on Wednesday.

The 4-year-old gelding, trained by Cliff Delima, worked three furlongs in 38 seconds. He has been on the sidelines since running third as the even-money favorite in the Saratoga Handicap on May 26 at Bay Meadows. Prior to that, he was scratched from the April 21 Oakland Handicap at Bay Meadows after suffering from a virus.

El Dorado Shooter was named the horse of the meeting for the 2000-2001 Golden Gate Fields meet. At the meeting, he set a six-furlong track record winning the Montclair Handicap in 1:07.55. He won the Ken Maddy Sprint in 1:08 and the Danville Handicap in 1:08.05 on a track rated good.

His Wednesday drill was listed as being accomplished handily, but it may be changed to breezing within the next two days as California clockers wrestle with terms to describe workouts.

Had El Dorado Shooter worked 10 days earlier, his work would have been listed as breezing instead of handily because it was accomplished easily with no urging from his rider.

Northern California head clocker Lafe Bassett said he began to change the way he described and listed workouts after talking with the head clocker in New York about why most workouts around the East Coast and Midwest were listed as breezing, while most workouts in California were listed as handily.

Bassett discussed the change with Santa Anita clocker Chuck Russell and with Gary Nelson, the head clocker for Hollywood Park and Del Mar. He also talked with representatives of other West Coast tracks, the California Authority of Racing Fairs, and the California Horse Racing Board before the change was initiated on Nov. 20.

"I hit everybody, and not one time did I get a comment that it wasn't a good idea," Bassett said.

However over the weekend, Southern California clockers went back to their previous designations for breezing and handily without contacting Bassett.

Bassett said he would talk to Southern California clockers on Thursday and would likely join them in using the previous designations so that workout terminology remained uniform in California.