11/01/2007 12:00AM

Heroi Do Bafra fit for return

EmailSAN MATEO, Calif. - Heroi Do Bafra, a multiple Grade 1 winner in Brazil, and Mulcahy, winner of three straight stakes at Emerald Downs, will both try to accomplish firsts in Saturday's $60,000 Seabiscuit Handicap at Bay Meadows.

Heroi Do Bafra is seeking his first U.S. victory, while Mulcahy will be trying to win his turf debut in the 1 1/16-mile race over the turf.

Heroi Do Bafra, trained by Bobby Frankel, has raced three times in the U.S., all at Santa Anita. He ran second in an optional claimer Jan. 1, finished fourth in the Grade 2 San Marcos after leading in the lane, and then was the third head in a three-way allowance photo in his last start on March 31. He earned 90-plus Beyer Speed Figures in each start.

Frankel said he hasn't raced since because of "some minor problems."

"But he's all right now," Frankel said.

A 5-year-old horse by Breeders' Cup Mile winner Royal Academy, Heroi Do Bafra has a series of solid works for his comeback, and Frankel usually sends horses out fit after long layoffs. He has been winning with layoff horses 27 percent of the time while showing a positive return on investment.

Distance will not be a problem for the horse, whose Grade 1 victories came at 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 miles in Brazil.

"The timing is good, and the distance should be fine," said Frankel, who believes Heroi Do Bafra has the talent to run well in turf races in Southern California.

Heroi Do Bafra carries 118 pounds. Mulcahy, a 3-year-old, carries 116.

Mulcahy is making his first start on grass, but trainer Howard Belvoir said that Mulcahy's half-brother, stakes winner Cool Cadillac, ran well on turf. Mulcahy's sire, Tribunal, has yet to have a turf winner from three starters.

Mulcahy reeled off victories in the Seattle Slew, the Emerald Downs Derby, and Trooper Seven. Before those races he ran third with a troubled trip in his stakes debut, the Tacoma Handicap.

"He probably should have won that race, too," Belvoir said. "He made three runs during the race."

Mulcahy has hit the board in all seven starts this year. He was gelded this spring, although Belvoir thinks maturity and the fact he's been able to run longer are the reasons for the improvement.

"He's kind of an iron horse, and I think his running style is ideal for the turf," Belvoir said. "He likes to lay off the pace and come running late."

Seven other runners, including multiple stakes winners Schoolin You and Sharp Writer, also are entered.