11/15/2007 12:00AM

First step for Buzzards Bay

EmailALBANY, Calif. - Golden Gate Fields has been a springboard in the past for Buzzards Bay, and trainer Ron Ellis hopes it will be so again Saturday when the millionaire meets nine rivals in the Grade 3, $150,000 All American Handicap.

"We've got big plans for him," Ellis said. "The next big race we'll point for is the Sunshine Millions Classic in January and then the Santa Anita Handicap. We want to try to get him to run all year with the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita."

Buzzards Bay is the defending champion in the All American, having won the Feb. 20, 2006, version before going on to win the Oaklawn Handicap by 6 1/2 lengths. Ellis planned to run the 5-year-old horse in the Grade 2, $500,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs next Friday but couldn't line up a suitable flight to Kentucky for him.

Eight of his nine rivals are stakes winners, and six runners in the field, including Buzzards Bay, are graded winners. Lang Field, the only non-stakes winner, has placed in stakes in two of his past three starts.

The field includes a pair of $2,500 supplemental nominees: Sharp Writer, who will be coupled with Putmeinyourwill, and Hello Sunday, who is seeking his first U.S. stakes victory. Jockey Joe Talamo will make his first Golden Gate appearance aboard Hello Sunday.

There should be an abundance of pace in the race with Buzzards Bay, Wanna Runner, Lang Field, and McCann's Mojave all horses with speed. A brisk pace would be advantageous to Hello Sunday, a Group 3 winner in his native France, and My Creed, who won the Grade 3 Berkeley here in June.

Buzzards Bay is inside the other speed, breaking from post 4 under Jose Valdivia Jr.

"We got a nice post," Ellis said. "Jose can sit and let the race develop around him. We don't take him back, but he can sit behind horses. He just doesn't want to be strong-armed back."

Steve Specht, who trains McCann's Mojave, was not thrilled with his draw.

"The outside post is not where you want to be," Specht said. "I don't like being hung out, but everybody will be sorted out by the first turn. There's some legitimate speed. I hope my rider makes the right decision."

McCann's Mojave is based here and has worked nicely.

"He's training super," said Specht, who brought McCann's Mojave back from a major bleeding incident in the June 2 Berkeley to be a troubled fourth in the Oct. 27 Morvich Handicap at Santa Anita. "He's a big, flat-footed horse and goes well over this track."

All the runners will be making their first start on Tapeta, and Ellis isn't sure how Buzzards Bay will take to it.

"If the times were as slow as Del Mar, I would be worried," Ellis said. "I don't think he liked the deep Polytrack at Del Mar. He's a big, heavy horse, who seemed to sink in. He's handled Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, that's two out of three, but there's always a concern until you run over it."