01/28/2003 12:00AM

I'madrifter, Boss Ego meet again in tough field

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ALBANY, Calif. - Thursday's co-features at Golden Gate Fields have the feel of stakes races.

The day's feature, a one-mile allowance race, includes four contestants from the New Year's Day Lafayette Handicap, including the winner, I'madrifter.

I'madrifter scored a wire-to-wire victory in the Lafayette, just as he had one year earlier on New Year's Day 2002. I'madrifter, though, went winless the rest of 2002.

The question facing his six opponents Thursday is if anyone can soften him up.

Boss Ego, who beat I'madrifter in each of their three meetings last year, will likely be I'madrifter's top threat, both on the pace and at the wire.

Rounding out the field are Surprized - Boss Ego's stablemate and I'madrifter's entrymate - Epic Honor, Peteski's Charm, Contexte, and Road Afleet.

Earlier in the day, 3-year-olds will run in an intriguing six-furlong $50,000 optional claimer.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who will enter Seamster and Silver Tsunami, said the race "looks like a typical non-winners of one."

Trainer Junior Coffey said the race, which has attracted six colts, including his undefeated Tickled Purple, has the look of a stakes race. Trainer Brian Koriner, who saddles stakes-placed Hawaiian Lyon and Onebadshark, said simply that the race looks like a tough one.

Tickled Purple and Silver Tsunami both won their debuts. Tickled Purple won at Emerald Downs last Sept. 19 after engaging in a head-and-head duel the whole race, while Silver Tsunami won in the mud here Jan. 11 by coming from off the pace.

Coffey said of Tickled Purple: "He ran awful hard. He has size, and we hope he'll go a route of ground. We've worked to get him to relax."

"He ran well enough," Hollendorfer said of Silver Tsunami, a half-brother to Metatron.

Hawaiian Lyon won his debut at the Bay Meadows Fair last Aug. 10, then lost by a head to Mr. Technique in the San Mateo Stakes on Sept. 1 at Bay Meadows. He's been on the sidelines with a shin problem since running fourth in the Malcolm Anderson Stakes Sept. 29.

Onebadshark, third in his debut at Bay Meadows last June, graduated at Vallejo on July 14, beating Mr. Technique among others. He made only one other start as a 2-year-old, finishing well behind Omega Code's track-record performance in the Ron and Jess Cloud Memorial at Fresno on Oct. 5.

Seamster has won 3 of 5 starts, all in claimers, while Zayed has two wins in claiming races but comes off a career-best 103 Beyer when beaten a head by Scrimshaw in a tough allowance race on Dec. 26 at Santa Anita.

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