01/20/2005 12:00AM

Hendrix tops allowance field on class basis

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ALBANY, Calif. - Hendrix, third under the wire in both the Oak Tree Derby and Bay Meadows Derby, will seek his second career victory in Saturday's Golden Gate Fields feature, a 1 1/16-mile allowance turf race.

Trainer Craig Dollase was excited about Hendrix when he last appeared in northern California, in the Bay Meadows Derby on Nov. 6.

"He's an improving 3-year-old on the right track," Dollase said before that race.

had improved his Beyer Speed Figure in five straight races, including a 101 in the Oak Tree Derby, his previous start.

Given an overly confident ride at Bay Meadows, Hendrix had nowhere to run in the lane when he bulled his way between Kingdom Come and Big Squeeze. He was third under the wire in the race but was disqualified back to eighth.

Dollase was naturally disappointed, believing he had saddled the best horse.

"He came out of the race none the worse for wear," Dollase said. "He did show some gameness."

He was sixth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby, earning a Beyer Figure, 93, that is 8 points higher than that of any of his Saturday rivals in their previous start.

He towers over the field on a class basis and has been working regularly since the Nov. 28 Hollywood Derby, including a five-furlong bullet on Tuesday.

His primary competition in the race is likely to come from another pair of 4-year-olds.

Raphaelite, trained by Eoin Harty, won his maiden in his debut on Oct. 5 at Turf Paradise. He was beaten a nose by Mazurka Danzer over Golden Gate Fields turf course in his second start, on Nov. 20, and has been freshened since. He has worked steadily in the interim and could prove Hendrix's toughest competition.

Billy Dixon, who has won two straight at a mile on the main track, is sharp and should handle turf. He lost by a nose sprinting on the turf as a maiden and has never failed to hit the board since coming off a year's layoff last September. He has the most speed of the three main contenders.

Alottadar, third in a four-way photo in Raphaelite's Nov. 20 race, also has speed and shows a six-furlong bullet move in his final prep for his first start since then. French Roast just went wire to wire to win a $40,000 claimer over the course.