02/13/2007 12:00AM

High hopes for Robbos Courage


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Is it too late for a horse to get on the Triple Crown trail? Especially one that has made only one start?

Trainer Craig Dollase hopes not.

The Dollase-trained Robbos Courage is the lone Triple Crown nominee entered in Thursday's Bay Meadows feature, a $40,000 optional claimer at a mile. He is part of a three-horse entry in the field of eight.

Robbos Courage, owned by Dr. George Todaro, who also bred and owned last weekend's California Oaks winner Eastlake Avenue, made his debut on Jan. 28 in a six-furlong race at Golden Gate. He won by two after stalking the pace, and made an impression on Dollase.

"He's been trained to go two turns," Dollase said. "For him to win sprinting was very impressive to me."

Since his debut, Robbos Courage has had a solid 59.60-second five-furlong work at Hollywood Park.

"He had a setback early in his career, so we took our time with him," Dollase said. "It looks like he's in high gear now."

A $90,000 Keeneland yearling purchase in September 2005, Robbos Courage is coupled with Regal Times and Brave Sun in a three-horse entry that should be the prohibitive favorite.

Kent Desormeaux, who rode the Dollase-trained Boutrous to a second in the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields, rode Robbos Courage in his debut. Jason Lumpkins, who tied for third in the Golden Gate standings, gets the mount Thursday.

Regal Times defeated Cayambe in a maiden race and has lost to Bwana Bull, the California Derby winner, twice since then.

Brave Sun has won two straight at this distance since being claimed last Nov. 16 for $32,000. He was disqualified from a win here last fall in his only northern California start before the claim.

In addition to Robbos Courage, Sorta Gold and Chief Teddybear are coming north from Southern California.

Sorta Gold won his maiden at 1-2 for trainer John Sadler in a seven-furlong race at Hollywood Park, then ran third in a turf sprint in his last start. Chief Teddybear closed for third in a seven-furlong allowance race on Dec. 29 at Santa Anita. The race was his first for trainer Doug O'Neill.

Babcock Lake, a runner-up in his past four starts, gets his first try around two turns. Cayambe moves to Art Sherman's barn after winning his maiden at a mile in his last start. Boxelder will make his first start since Sept. 29.