11/20/2007 12:00AM

Gold Rush the goal for eight

EmailALBANY, Calif. - Two-year-olds whose connections have an eye on the Dec. 15 Gold Rush Stakes meet in a six-furlong allowance sprint Thursday at Golden Gate Fields.

The eight runners will get a chance to prove they belong in the one-mile Gold Rush, which, in turn, is a prep for the Jan. 27 California Derby.

Deputy Bertrando will make his first start since pressing the pace and fading to finish seventh in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar on July 25.

"He bruised a foot, so we gave him plenty of time," trainer Jeff Bonde said.

Deputy Bertrando trailed his stablemate Run Brother Ron when both debuted on April 4. He won his next start, a two-furlong maiden race at Bay Meadows, then finished second behind the undefeated Imaginary Sailor in the Lost in the Fog on June 10 at Golden Gate and third behind Run Brother Ron in the July 1 Everett Nevin at Pleasanton.

A son of Bertrando, Deputy Bertrando has recorded both five- and six-furlong bullet works over the new Tapeta surface.

Bonde said that with a good effort Deputy Bertrando could go on to the Gold Rush.

Bradford Falls, coupled with Deputy Bertrando, has not won since his July 23 debut. He was fifth in a 7 1/2-furlong turf race in his last start, Oct. 26. He and Vadheim, who was seventh in the same race, are the only runners in the field with two-turn experience. Vadheim won the Harvest Futurity at Fresno on Oct. 12 while still a maiden.

Fort Funston finished second in the Bay Meadows Juvenile. He faces Good Man Dan again, who beat Fort Funston in an Oct. 7 optional claiming race at six furlongs at Bay Meadows.

Rounding out the field are Outofthesale, who is perfect in two starts back East; Bear Creek, who also has a two-race winning streak; and Moonlit Master, coming off a maiden win.

o The Glen Ellen Vocational Academy, Northern California's only nonprofit Thoroughbred rescue center, is holding its stallion season auction, which serves as its major fundraiser. A list of the stallions and information on bidding can be found at www.glenellenfarms.com/geva. The auction continues through Nov. 27.