03/28/2007 11:00PM

Here's where Vaderator's been aiming


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Dean Pederson began planning to run Vaderator in Saturday's California Turf Sprint Championship at Bay Meadows moments after he won the Fairfax on Feb. 3 at Golden Gate Fields. He recognized that he had two options for the 4-year-old gelding: the $100,000 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint at six furlongs on March 11 or the Turf Sprint Championship at five furlongs.

But with Smokey Stover in the Bay Meadows BC Sprint, Pederson's decision became easy. Smokey Stover defeated Vaderator by 10 lengths in that race on Jan. 7 and went on to win the Sunshine Millions Sprint and the Bay Meadows BC Sprint.

"We knew we weren't going to run in both," Pederson said. "Once we knew Smokey Stover was running in the Bay Meadows Sprint, I talked with the owners and we agreed if we were going to run in one or the other, the Cal-bred race made sense."

Owned by John Harris and Sheila Williams, who bred the horse, Vaderator has 4 wins and 2 seconds from 7 starts. He has made two starts on turf, a victory in a Bay Meadows optional claimer in November and a sixth-place finish at the Bay Meadows Fair last August. Pederson said he bled in that race.

While there are no Smokey Stovers signed up Saturday, there is defending champion Bonfante. He won the race after nearly an eight-month layoff last year and runs in it after a five-month layoff this year.

He gets a perfect outside draw and should not be far away before he cuts loose on the turn.

Also running off a layoff is the 6-year-old mare Vaca City Flyer, who is 2 for 2 in stakes at this distance on the turf. She won five straight, including four stakes, before running second in her final 2006 start five months ago.

Wind Water, last year's Cal Cup Starter Sprint winner, will challenge Vaderator from the gate and might even be quicker. Vaca City Flyer also has good early speed. Limited Creole ran a sub-43-second half down the hill at Santa Anita earlier this year and will be a pace factor from just outside Vaderator.

Red Warrior, third to Bonfante in this race last year, and No Derby round out the field.

Despite the speed lined up against Vaderator, Pederson said, "I've got confidence in my horse, but he still has to run. He won't be 1-9.

"Maybe he won't be in front at the quarter pole. I just hope he's in front at the wire."