02/20/2002 12:00AM

El Dorado Shooter reloads


ALBANY, Calif. - El Dorado Shooter came into last year's Ken Maddy Sprint at Golden Gate Fields on a roll.

On Saturday, he will enter the Ken Maddy, a $100,000 six-furlong race for California-breds, surrounded by question marks.

Last year, El Dorado Shooter, a homebred trained by Cliff Delima and owned by his wife, Barbara, came into the race after setting a track record at the distance in the Montclair Handicap.

This year, El Dorado Shooter comes into the race off a sixth-place finish in the Montclair, which was his first start in nearly eight months.

El Dorado Shooter was given a tough assisgment in the Montclair. Despite a series of good works for his comeback, Delima was fearful he might be one work short for his return. Then he drew the rail, inside speedsters Gibson County and Tony's Royalty.

Under constant pressure, El Dorado Shooter set the pace through fractions of 21.46 and 44.22 before fading in the lane and finishing sixth, beaten five lengths as jockey Chad Schvaneveldt wisely wrapped up on him once he was beaten.

Delima says he thought his 5-year-old gelding would "run a little bit better," but he believes the race will do his star good.

"They always improve [off a race]," Delima said. "It's better than working them three times. We'll run him back and see what happens."

Delima thinks the draw hurt El Dorado Shooter in the Montclair.

"The rail is no good," he said.

El Dorado Shooter has come back to run two bullet works in his three drills since the Montclair.

While Delima expects an improved try, he says El Dorado Shooter "faces a real challenge" Saturday.

Millionaire Men's Exclusive will be the 121-pound highweight in the race. Echo Eddie, who battled El Dorado Shooter every step of the way while finishing second to him in last year's Ken Maddy, is also scheduled to run. Radar Contact and Gibson County, second and third in the Montclair, are also expected to run. Tony's Royalty is a possibility.

Delima, who is planning to move his stable to Prairie Meadows when the Golden Gate Fields meeting ends on March 31, said that if El Dorado Shooter runs well Saturday, he would look at a sprint at Oaklawn Park for his next start.

Meanwhile, Delima will send out the entry of Slewreen and Miss Allie Gator in Friday's co-feature at Golden Gate Fields. Slewreen drew the No. 2 post and Miss Allie Gator the No. 6 in a six-furlong race with a $16,000 claiming price for older fillies and mares.

The entry will face six rivals, including Brite Dancer, who won her past two starts, and Runaway Susie, whose two-race win streak was snapped when she ran for a $25,000 tag in her last start.

Michelle's Cap, Little Nat, Don't Ignore Her, and Angies Kin round out the field.