12/29/2007 1:00AM

Idiot Proof figures best in El Conejo

Bill Denver/Equiphotos
Idiot Proof will make his first start since the Breeders' Cup Sprint in the El Conejo Handicap.
ARCADIA, Calif. - Idiot Proof's first assignment of 2008 - Tuesday's $100,000 El Conejo Handicap at Santa Anita - may seem a lot easier by post time.

The runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27, Idiot Proof may not face one top rival - Bushwacker, winner of the Grade 3 Vernon Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park on Dec. 2.

Trainer and co-owner Bill Currin said that even though he entered Bushwacker in the Grade 3

El Conejo Handicap at 5 1/2 furlongs, he may wait for the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26.

"I'm not sure I'm going to go in the race," Currin said. "I entered to see who was going in. I'm apt to do an audible at the last minute, but I don't think I will run."

Currin said he does not have stalls at Santa Anita and that Bushwacker is the sort of horse "that needs to be there a few days in advance."

Bushwacker won his first stakes in the Underwood, leading throughout. He will have a similar role in the El Conejo, if he starts.

In any case, Idiot Proof will be a deserving favorite. Owned by breeders Marty and Pam Wygod and trained by Clifford Sise, Idiot Proof, 4, won the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes here in October and was beaten 4 3/4 lengths by Midnight Lute in the BC Sprint after leading in the stretch.

Idiot Proof has worked quickly in recent weeks, including six furlongs on the training track in 1:14 on Dec. 18 and five furlongs on the main track in 59.40 seconds last Wednesday.

"He's good and ready to go," Sise said.

Sise said he would like to see Idiot Proof "outside, laying about second or third off the pace" on the backstretch. Even if Bushwacker is scratched, Idiot Proof may still have a rival to chase in Barber, a stakes winner at Del Mar last summer who has shown ample speed in recent starts.

Idiot Proof shares top weight of 122 pounds with In Summation, who won 3 of 5 starts, all in stakes, in 2007, including the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar in July. Trained by Christophe Clement, In Summation was a troubled second in the Underwood. He was forced out near the wire by Bushwacker and lost by three-quarters of a length.

The field also includes Council Member, who was fourth in the Underwood, and Barbecue Eddie, who is seeking his first stakes win.