09/22/2004 12:00AM

Ireland import Conspiring in potential winning spot


SAN MATEO, Calif. - One reason Castleton Lyons sent Conspiring to the United States from Ireland was to get a stakes victory.

Conspiring, 4, will get that chance Saturday in the $55,000-added Hillsborough Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles over the turf.

"The owner felt there were more opportunities here," said John O'Donoghue, assistant to Conspiring's trainer, Neil Drysdale. "There are more stakes races with older fillies."

The Hillsborough, a graded stakes at one time, seems the perfect spot for Conspiring on paper.

Jerry Hollendorfer will send out the entry of Marwood and Cat Alert, who ran one-two in the Autumn Leaves on the meet's opening weekend. A B Noodle, who set a very fast pace that day, also returns and should be tighter with a race under her belt.

Conspiring has only two victories in 15 starts, but she was second in a listed stakes last year in Ireland. She comes into the Hillsborough off an allowance victory at Del Mar after having run third, second, and fourth in her first three U.S. starts.

"She seems to be getting stronger and better," O'Donoghue said. "She's just been improving gradually.

"I think she was getting more confident all the time."

An in-form field

Seven 2-year-old fillies, five of whom are coming off a victory, meet in a first-level allowance race at six furlongs in Friday's Bay Meadows feature.

Coming into the race off a win are: Undercover Soldier, who won her debut here at two furlongs on May 5; Littlemisscourtney, who was claimed from her debut victory at Del Mar; and Word Girl, Jasmine's Gem, and One Fourteen.

Tense Wager has run second twice since winning her debut, and Hold the Game, fifth in the $100,000 Generous Portion at Del Mar after winning her debut, round out the field.

Tense Wager won her debut in wire-to-wire style here in June. She rallied from last to be second after a troubled start in the Solano County Juvenile Fillies Stakes in her second start, and was second after stalking a fast early pace in her last start.

Recent maiden winner Jasmine's Gem showed improvement in her second start and could be the one the others have to catch.

* Sunday's $55,000 Charles H. Russell Handicap at six furlongs had only three confirmed runners as of Wednesday. Christmas Time, Jetintohouston, and Pheiffer are listed as definite. Normandy Princess and Off to the Opera are considered possibles.