02/28/2004 12:00AM

Jets Fan takes San Carlos


ALBANY, Calif. - Jets Fan ($11.80) made a strong move along the rail into the lane and pulled away from Gold Ruckus late to win the $55,500 San Carlos Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Jets Fan sat comfortably behind the brisk pace of Smile n Wildcat in the one-mile race. He and Gold Ruckus closed behind the leader and favored Onebadshark on the turn. Gold Ruckus went three wide, while Jets Fan cut to the rail as the horses came into the lane.

Gold Ruckus took the lead at the eighth pole, but Jets Fan was rolling and pulled away to win by 1 1/2 lengths, covering the mile in 1:34.75.

"He's really sharp," winning rider Joe Castro said. "He won that race last time on his own and that horse he beat (Yougottawanna) came back to win easily today.

"I knew there was a lot of speed in the race and that I'd probably be sitting third. It was a small field, but it did get a little tight. When I got some room around the quarter, I went inside, and he exploded from there."

Gold Ruckus' rider Dennis Carr said he had Jets Fan pocketed inside him, but others let him through along the rail. He complimented the winner, though, saying, "He ran good. The winner is just real sharp right now."

Smile n Wildcat, making his first start around two turns, held fairly well despite the fast pace.

Jockey Kevin Radke said that he thought Onebadshark, who was sitting just off the leader early may have bled when he seemed to back out of the race on the second turn.

But, still, it was a big effort by Jets Fan.

"The way he left the field, there was nobody coming toward him," said winning trainer Brent Sumja, who will likely point Jets Fan to the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at one mile on March 27.

The 4-year-old gelding, second in last summer's James F. Lyttle Handicap at Santa Rosa, scored his fifth win in 12 starts. He earned $30,750 to increase his lifetime earnings to $125,200 for Rancho San Miguel, Bennett and Domush.