09/06/2001 11:00PM

Finding value the tough part


SAN MATEO, Calif. - White Cloud, who just missed in a similar spot, has a slight edge over six foes in a $34,000 allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the grass at Bay Meadows Sunday.

All seven entrants have a reasonable chance to win this second-level allowance race, but they have to beat White Cloud. Trained by Allen Severinsen, White Cloud's rally fell a neck short as the 6-5 favorite here Aug. 15.

That was his third start following a five-month layoff, so the 5-year-old White Cloud is sharp and fresh.

White Cloud's attributes are obvious, and he does not figure to offer much in the way of value in this wide-open race. Bettors also might zero in on Big Shot, an invader from Southern California with impeccable connections - trainer Richard Mandella and leading rider Russell Baze.

Big Shot is coming off a second-place finish as the favorite in a $50,000 claiming race going 1 3/8 miles on the grass at Del Mar. He fits with these allowance horses, who are roughly equivalent to $40,000 claimers.

On the other hand, Big Shot may prefer a bit more distance, the field he comes out of was not especially strong for the level, and he has never raced over this course. And, he certainly does not figure to be an overlay.

Expresso Bay or the 3-year-old Money Shot could offer a little value. Expresso Bay, from the Chuck Peery stable, was impressive overcoming a slow start to win a $32,000 claiming race over this course Sept. 3, and he may be sharp enough to repeat versus this tougher field.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer liked Money Shot enough to claim him for $62,500 at Hollywood Park in May. The horse finished fifth going 1 1/16 miles on the turf against 3-year-olds that day, but that was his first try around two turns and on the grass, and he has won two of four in sprints for Hollendorfer since then.

He may now be ready to stretch out again on the grass and beat these older foes at a reasonable price. He is certainly bred for the turf.