11/03/2004 1:00AM

Gallagher likes his derby duo


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Reading condition books is one key to a barn's success, and Southern California-based trainer Patrick Gallagher has proven adept at picking the right spots in northern California.

Gallagher sent Kingdom Come and Talaris north to Bay Meadows last month to gauge whether either should be considered for Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Bay Meadows Derby at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Both passed the test, with Kingdom Come winning a second-level allowance race on the turf on Oct. 16 and Talaris winning a first-level allowance race switched from turf to the main track on Oct. 20.

Kingdom Come is 2 for 2 over the Bay Meadows turf. Talaris has made 5 of 8 career starts in northern California and has finished no worse than second in any of them.

Gallagher admits the quality of competition is easier in northern California.

"On paper, that would seem to be, but Kingdom Come has run against some good ones down here," he said from his Southern California base. "It may have helped Talaris, but both act like nice horses."

On paper, Kingdom Come seems to have a better chance, reflected in part by jockey Jason Lumpkins' choice to ride him instead of Talaris, who will be ridden by Dennis Carr.

"I let [Lumpkins'] agent have the choice," Gallagher said. "It didn't concern me. Dennis Carr is a good rider, too."

Kingdom Come came from a stalking position in his first start here and went wire to wire last time.

"It helps when a horse is versatile and is not one-dimensional," Gallagher said.

Talaris also is versatile.

"I think his race was quite good," Gallagher said. "He didn't win by much, but the colt can get a little lazy. I think there was more there."

Marty's Zee one to catch

Eight fillies and mares contest Friday's feature, a $50,000 optional claimer at one mile on the turf.

Speedy Marty's Zee is the one to catch, although Secret Corsage has shown speed in the past.

Second in the Palo Alto in her last start, Secret Corsage seems the one to beat off current form and should get a good trip under Ron Warren Jr., northern California's top turf rider.

* Leading rider Russell Baze got a three-day suspension for his ride on True Dancer, who was disqualified from second and placed seventh in Sunday's Pacifica Handicap. Baze, who might appeal, would miss the first three days of the Golden Gate Fields meet, which opens Wednesday.