09/19/2003 12:00AM

Locals try to stop 'Stanley'


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Southern California invader Stanley Park looms the likely favorite, but three locally based 3-year-olds should have a big say in the outcome of Sunday's $60,000-added Half Moon Bay Handicap at Bay Meadows.

Standard Setter, winner of the Grade 3 Golden Gate Derby; Obermeister, winner of the Pleasanton Stakes; and Winning Stripes, runner-up to Ministers Wild Cat in the Golden State Mile, are among the six entered in the 1 1/16-mile turf test.

For Standard Setter's trainer, Jeff Bonde, and Winning Stripes' trainer, Bill Morey Jr., Sunday's race may answer some questions about their 3-year-olds. For Obermeister's trainer, Armando Lage, who claimed the speedster for himself for $8,000 on March 26, Sunday's race is simply an easier spot.

Standard Setter had never run a bad race until his return from minor knee surgery last winter in the six-furlong Earlene McCabe Derby at Sacramento on Aug. 24, when he finished fifth of six.

Standard Setter also had minor knee surgery as a 2-year-old. He returned on Dec. 20, 2002, and was third in a three-way photo in a sprint. In his next start, on Jan. 11, he won the Grade 3 Golden Gate Derby at 1 1/16 miles in wire-to-wire style in his first start around two turns.

Winning Stripes won on turf and dirt, then was second to the highly regarded Ministers Wild Cat in the Golden State Mile at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 9.

Since then, it's been primarily downhill for Winning Stripes, a $50,000 Del Mar yearling purchase, although he did win a $62,500 claimer at Del Mar.

"If everything goes right, he runs a huge race," Morey said. "If it doesn't go his way, he stinks out the place."

One thing Winning Stripes needs is a solid pace, and he will get that with Obermeister and Standard Setter in the field. The pace situation also helps the late-running Stanley Park.

Unlike Bonde and Morey, Lage has yet to be disappointed by Obermeister, even though he is winless since capturing the Pleasanton Stakes.

"He's turned out to be a really honest horse," Lage said. "He's never made me think he has a problem. When he's been overmatched, it's been the trainer's fault."

Obermeister was last against older opponents on Labor Day in the $100,000 California Turf Championship.

"This is definitely an easier spot," said Lage, who is also entering At Dawn, an off-the-pace runner.