01/11/2002 12:00AM

Lytle Creek can provide fast return

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ALBANY, Calif. - The claiming game can be tough, but it can also provide instant winners.

Trainer Robert Dempsey is hoping for an instant winner in Sunday's feature race at Golden Gate Fields. He claimed Lytle Creek from leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer for $32,000 in his last start and runs him Sunday in a $40,000 optional claimer at one mile.

Lytle Creek is getting used to running for new trainers. Dempsey's claim for owner Gene Johnson marked the third time Lytle Creek had been claimed in his past six starts.

Armando Lage claimed him at Del Mar off Bob Baffert on Sept. 2. Lytle Creek won two of three starts for Lage and then was claimed by Hollendorfer on Oct. 27. He won both starts for Hollendorfer before he was taken by Dempsey.

Lytle Creek has won 5 of 14 starts and hit the board 12 times. He was 5 for 9 last year, winning his last four races.

The 5-year-old Lytle Creek hasn't run as far as a mile in a long time. His last try around two runs came when he was a 3-year-old maiden, and he finished fourth after setting the pace at Santa Anita.

Lytle Creek is not the only sharp claimer entered in the race.

Withholding Info, who has won 5 of 11 starts, going 4 of 6 last year, has been claimed twice. Withholding Info has won 2 of 4 starts for Kenwood Racing and Fred Mattes since trainer Chuck Peery claimed him for them.

As with Lytle Creek, Withholding Info comes off a sprint victory. His lone out-of-the-money finish for Peery came when he was tried at a mile and faded late in a fast race.

Sunday's feature attracted 10, including the Hollendorfer-trained entry of Boss Ego and Hobar. Also entered were Finder's Gold, Reel 'Em In, Suspicious Minds, Almost Golden, Echelon, and Dancing Afleet.

* Sunday's card starts off with an interesting maiden race at a mile.

In the field of six are Al's Wizard and Lawn Mower, both of whom trailed highly regarded Attabrook in his winning debut. How they run today may give some hint about Attabrook's ability.

Attabrook was nominated to Saturday's Golden Gate Derby, but trainer Lonnie Arterburn passed the race because Attabrook missed several works.

* Ben Russell was suspended for three days (Jan. 18-20) for his ride on Glittering Stone on Jan. 9.