03/31/2006 12:00AM

Gilchrist's audible bad news for four


ALBANY, Calif. - One reason for trainer Greg Gilchrist's success is his ability to plan for the future. The Eclipse Award-winning campaign he laid out for Lost in the Fog last year provides a perfect example. While Gilchrist is very good at setting his sights on the right target, he is also flexible enough to make adjustments.

Fortunately - or unfortunately, for four rival 3-year-olds - Gilchrist adjusted plans for Smokey Stover. Instead of running him in next Saturday's $100,000 Lost Code at Hawthorne, he will run Smokey Stover in Sunday's $40,000-added Stinson Beach overnight stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

Had Gilchrist not changed his plans, the race would likely have been scrubbed for only having four entrants. Smokey Stover's presence, however, could mean Spunky Harry, Wilmore, The Nairobi Trio, and Midwesterner are running for second-place money.

Gilchrist said he decided to run here Sunday rather than at Hawthorne because, "I don't like to leave home if a race is offered here."

He also noted that Smokey Stover has a much better chance to win on Sunday, which offsets the $30,000 difference in the winner's share between the Stinson Beach and the the Lost Code.

"What we have here is basically a nonwinners-of-one, and there's a $40,000 pot," Gilchrist said.

has run only twice and has not gotten away cleanly either time. He won his debut and missed by a neck to Barber in his second start, earning Beyers of 90 and 94.

In his debut, Smokey Stover broke very slowly, hesitating when the gate opened, but gathered himself and did not rush up. He rallied and then pulled away late from stablemate Firebaugh.

Although Smokey Stover broke quicker in his second start, he seemed off balance after the opening jump and had to gather himself, losing ground in the process. Instead of making up the ground slowly, Smokey Stover rushed up to duel with Barber and ultimately lost by a neck.

"He cost himself the race at the start," Gilchrist said.

Russell Baze gets the call on Smokey Stover after working him five furlongs from the gate in 59.60 seconds last Sunday. Baze said Smokey Stover broke fine in the work.

The primary challengers are , freshened and given a six-furlong bullet drill since finishing third behind Frisco Star and Barber in the Feb. 19 Novato, and Midwesterner, a fast-closing third behind Barber and Smokey Stover last time.

The Nairobi Trio is the only entrant with two victories. He captured a $40,000 starter allowance last out.