01/30/2006 1:00AM

Hollendorfer may have another Derby shot

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Although he has had only one runner in the Kentucky Derby, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer knows what it takes to get there. He is considering a Derby run with Cause to Believe, who won Sunday's $250,000 .

Hollendorfer's lone Derby starter was Eye of the Tiger, who finished fifth in 2003. But the 1998 El Camino winner, the Hollendorfer-trained Event of the Year, was a favorite for the Derby when the colt fractured his knee eight days before the race. The next year he won the Strub and finished second to Free House in the Santa Anita Handicap on his way to becoming a millionaire.

In 2000, Globalize ran fourth in the El Camino but then won the Grade 2 Spiral at Turfway Park, following in the path of Event of the Year, who won the race when it was called the Jim Beam. Globalize was entered in the Derby, but the day after the draw he was kicked by a pony and had to be scratched.

Cause to Believe has never finished worse than second and is 4 for 4 in stakes with Russell Baze riding him, as he did Sunday.

Before the El Camino, Hollendorfer said that owner Peter Redekop was not particularly interested in pointing Cause to Believe to the Kentucky Derby. That may have changed, Hollendorfer said. Redekop was not at the El Camino but listened to the race while vacationing in Hawaii.

Cause to Believe, who wound up at 59-1 in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, will remain in California, Hollendorfer said. He may run next in either the Grade 2 Santa Catalina at Santa Anita on March 4, when he would likely meet Stevie Wonderboy, the Eclipse champion, and Brother Derek, winner of the Hollywood Futurity and San Rafael in his past two starts. Another option might be the Grade 2 San Felipe on March 18, three weeks before the Santa Anita Derby.

"Now that he's stretched out to 1 1/16 miles, he's in good shape anywhere we want to go," Hollendorfer said. "I don't think we want to go back to a mile, but 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 doesn't matter."

Cause to Believe opened up on pacesetting Objective in the stretch, but Objective actually came back on Cause to Believe, losing by three-quarters of a length.

"I busted him a couple times and he cleared off," Baze said. "When he got in front, he pricked his ears. He's not used to being on the lead that early. I told him, 'Oh, no. We're not done yet.' "

Roberto Gonzalez, who rode the runner-up, was pleased with Objective's effort.

"He relaxed so good, and, when I asked him, he gave me everything," Gonzalez said. "He never gave up."

The third-place finisher, Bold Chieftain, may run in the California Derby on March 11 at Golden Gate Fields, where he could meet the unbeaten Frisco Star.

Tyler Baze, who rode Bold Chieftain in the El Camino, told trainer Bill Morey Jr., "Wherever you're going to run him next, I want to ride him."

Baze said, "Once he puts everything together, he's going to be a nice colt. He's so green, he doesn't know what you want him to do. I think he can be something special."

Neither Southern California import did much. Favored A.P. Warrior only ran in spots. Trainer Eoin Harty, while not ready to give up, was clearly disappointed and suggested he might put blinkers on A.P. Warrior, a $1.3 million purchase.

Wanna Runner who had finished third to Brother Derek and Stevie Wonderboy two weeks earlier, finished fifth.

"I had an empty wagon," said his jockey, David Flores.

Foster City the meet's last stakes

The meet enters its final week Wednesday with the $75,000 Foster City Handicap at one mile for fillies and mares the final stakes on Saturday.

Eleven were nominated, including three by Hollendorfer. Two, Heavenly Humor (Soviet Problem) and Secret Corsage (Bay Meadows Cotillion), have been stakes winners at the meet. The third, Quick Temper, was second in the Grade 3 Maple Leaf at Woodbine in her last race and would be making her first start for Hollendorfer.

Six fillies and mares entered for a $20,000 claiming price make up Wednesday's feature, with comebacking Sun Valley Anna, who has been gone two months, the one to beat.

Jockeys missing action

Frank Alvarado, currently eighth in the standings with 10 wins after picking up two Sunday, had to return to his native Panama for family business but will back for the final weekend.

Chance Rollins and apprentice Adan Landeros will both miss Wednesday and Thursday as they complete three-day suspensions. Rollins rode Acolyte in Sunday's El Camino Real, which is a designated race in which suspended jockeys can ride.

Apprentice Edwin Fernandez will miss Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and the first two days of the Golden Gate Fields meet next week after he was disqualified from second to third aboard Tea Dancing in last Thursday's seventh race for causing interference on the clubhouse turn.