02/23/2008 1:00AM

Maiden’s time seems at hand


SAN MATEO, Calif. – Trainer Bruce Dillenbeck is hoping that the 5-year-old maiden Jehovah Jireh will reward his patience Monday in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race at Bay Meadows. Jehovah Jireh has four rivals, including stablemate Diggingfordiamonds.

Dillenbeck, who is taking seminary classes, also owns the horse, and he said the name goes back to the story of Abraham and Isaac and means “God will provide.”

Many horses who haven’t won a race are retired by 5, but Dillenbeck said the horse’s pedigree offers hope he can still be productive.

“He’s by Corslew, and they seem to take a little bit longer to reach their best,” Dillenbeck said. “They run better when they get older.”

Jehovah Jireh is a good-sized runner, and Dillenbeck didn’t even break him until the spring of his 3-year-old year to give him plenty of time to grow into himself.

Jehovah Jireh has run second three times in seven starts and has proved to be at his best around two turns.

He has run twice this year, finishing fifth in a sprint following a three-month break and then running second here Feb. 7 when stretched out to a mile.

Although Jehovah Jireh was beaten 10 lengths by Monte Bajo, Dillenbeck thought it was a good effort. He pointed out that Monte Banjo’s time of 1:35.41 was the fastest mile of the meet, even faster than the 1:35.56 Bold Chieftain ran in the Presidents’ Day Stakes.

“He ran a pretty decent race,” Dillenbeck said of Jehovah Jireh’s last effort.

Also entered Monday is Scalding Passion, who finished third, another six lengths back of Jehovah Jireh in the Feb. 7 mile race. Mighty Wagner, making his second start, and Marginal Reality round out the field.

Dillenbeck thinks the 1 1/16-mile distance should favor Jehovah Jireh.

“I think he’ll improve the second time going a route,” Dillenbeck said.

Jehovah Jireh shows no works since his last start, but he’s based at Pleasanton where a clocker only is on hand three days a week.

“He actually breezed five-eighths in hand last Sunday, but there was no clocker there,” Dillenbeck said. “He really seems to be doing well right now.”