10/13/2006 12:00AM

Make Mine Vodka'steps up to stakes


Trainer Art Sherman was a little surprised to win a 15-way shake for Make Mine Vodka at Del Mar. Some trainers had put in multiple claims for the horse in the name of different owners, according to Sherman,.

"I was the only single in there. That was just crazy," he said. "I took it as a good omen when we won the shake."

Make Mine Vodka won his third straight when Sherman claimed him on July 29. He was claimed from each victory.

Make Mine Vodka has finished second and won for Sherman in allowance races since the claim, and Sunday, he will make his first stakes start in the $50,000 Bull Dog Stakes on closing day at the Big Fresno Fair.

Nine horses entered the one-mile race, including the Cliff DeLima-trained entry of Motel Staff and Shadow Raider.

The race is filled with runners who like the lead or are eager to race near the pace.

Make Mine Vodka is one of those that can contest the pace, having run 44-and-change half-miles in his two sprints for Sherman.

"I think we fit in there. I know I've had some of them," Sherman said. "I was worried Trickey Trevor was going."

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer considered nominating Trickey Trevor, but didn't.

"I thought the rest in the race were horses he could compete with," Sherman added.

Make Mine Vodka drew post 3, which should present no problems.

"You can place him any place you want," said Sherman, whose son, Steve, will accompany the 5-year-old Make Mine Vodka to Fresno.

The day Sherman claimed him, Make Mine Vodka won at 1 1/16 miles and was content to sit third until unleashing a strong kick in the stretch.

"He's game and a trier," Sherman said.

Real Temptation is the morning-line favorite. He comes off a good allowance win as the favorite on Sept. 22 at Golden Gate Fields. He sat back, circling four wide, leaving My Creed, one of his Sunday rivals, in his wake.

Real Temptation has a half-mile bullet work since the victory and gets Martin Garcia, who has been California's top apprentice, in the saddle. He will carry 123 pounds as the highweight, spotting the rest of the field four pounds.

Swiss Lad, a Del Mar winner two back for trainer Jeff Mullins, who re-claimed him in his next start; American All Star, claimed for $50,000 from his comeback on Aug. 21; Apollo King, who has made his past six starts on the turf; and Logician, coming off a $25,000 claiming victory, round out the field.