04/04/2007 11:00PM

Hollendorfer sends two to the turf

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Three-year-olds are in the spotlight at this time of the year. The best of their generation are sorting themselves out along the Derby trail, but it is also an important time for lesser lights.

Five 3-year-olds, among them two who gave the Derby trail a shot, try to prove themselves on turf in a 7 1/2-furlong allowance race Saturday at Bay Meadows.

Candy's Bro and Brave Sun are both trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who sends out Northern California's top 3-year-old, Bwana Bull, in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby.

Candy's Bro was nominated to the Triple Crown, but he faded to fourth and fifth behind Bwana Bull in the Jan. 28 California Derby and March 10 El Camino Real Derby. Runner-up to the talented Vicarino in the six-furlong Stinson Beach on Jan. 1, Candy's Bro, a son of E Dubai, will make his turf debut Saturday.

Brave Sun was claimed by Hollendorfer in November and then won three straight, capped by a victory in a one-mile optional claimer here in February. He ran sixth of seven in the El Camino Real last out, his stakes debut. A grandson of Smart Strike and Thunder Gulch, Brave Sun seems better bred for turf than Candy's Bro.

Super Image is the lone stakes winner in the field, having won the Cavonnier Juvenile at Santa Rosa last summer in the midst of a three-race win streak. He returned from nearly three months on the sidelines in the Pasadena on the turf at Santa Anita in his last start. He set the pace early but tired and drifted out through the lane in the one-mile race, finishing ninth.

"I had hoped to run him in a $62,500 optional claimer, but it didn't go," trainer Lloyd Mason said, explaining why he's running Super Image in Saturday's race. "This was my only option or the horse would go south looking for a spot."

Super Image seemed to handle turf all right in his works at Santa Anita, Mason said, and he considers the Pasadena a throwout.

"They put him on the front end last time, and he went fairly fast," he said.

Mason says he will ask jockey Luis Martinez to rate the gelding.

"He knows him pretty well and has always told me he thinks the horse will rate," Mason said.

Super Image will wear blinkers for the first time.

Congo Louie, who has scored both career wins in claimers on the turf, will be tested for class, as will The Supply Program, who was twice claimed as a 2-year-old and graduated in a $40,000 claimer last year.