05/25/2001 11:00PM

'Irisheyes' on All American prize


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Irisheyesareflying, who was second in the Grade 2 San Bernardino Handicap in his last main-track race, is the horse to beat in the Grade 3 $150,000 All American Handicap at 1 1/16 miles at Bay Meadows on Monday.

Major threats include Euchre, a Grade 2 winner from the Bobby Frankel stable, and Jorrocks, who won the $50,000 San Carlos Handicap at Bay Meadows on April 29 and who could be the "now" horse.

Irisheyesareflying finished fourth at 4-5 in his last start, the restricted Quicken Tree, but that was a 1 1/2-mile turf race. He may be better suited to the conditions of Monday's race.

Before the Quicken Tree, Irisheyesareflying, a 5-year-old California-bred, ran four consecutive races on the main track at Santa Anita., winning a pair of allowance-optional claimers, finishing fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap, and second in the San Bernardino. He earned solid and consistent Beyer Speed Figures of 106, 107, 104, and 106 in those races. John Dolan trains.

Euchre, a 5-year-old gelding, may be the best horse in the race, but his current form is a bit cloudy. Last year, he won the Grade 2 Bel Air with a 107 Beyer and also finished a close third to Tiznow and Captain Steve in the Grade 2 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap, earning a sensational 116 Beyer. He then went to Japan and finished a disappointing eighth at 3-1 in the Japan Cup on Nov. 25.

After that, Frankel freshened him, bringing him back in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy on May 5 at Hollywood Park. He was washy, and finished a badly beaten fourth of only five starters at 3-1. Obviously, he is capable of much better.

Jorrocks, a 7-year-old gelding who spent most of his career in England, has only raced twice in the U.S. He made his U.S. debut in the Santa Anita Handicap and finished last with plenty of excuses. On April 29, trainer Bob Hess Jr. sent him here for the $50,000 San Carlos Handicap and he won impressively, rallying from last place to win by a length over Boss Ego, who was second, five lengths clear of the third-place finisher. Jorrocks's Beyer Figure was a solid 102.

According to Hess's father, trainer Bob Hess Sr., Jorrocks should not be judged by his Santa Anita Handicap performance. He was shut off at the start, but that was only a minor part of the problem. "They put the tongue tie on too early," Hess said, "and by the time he got to the paddock he was going crazy. He flipped in the paddock and got all washed out. For the San Carlos, we didn't even use a tongue tie, and he was fine."