01/10/2006 1:00AM

Marcutio needs a big effort


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Lynn Woolsey knows that some people will think Marcutio freaked in his last race and will have trouble duplicating the performance.

He earned a 101 Beyer while winning a $20,000 claimer at a mile over a good turf course at Golden Gate Fields. It was his second straight win after capturing a $12,500 claimer in his previous start.

"I'm hoping he's the horse I always thought he was," said Woolsey, who entered the 7-year-old gelding against eight rivals in a $62,500 optional claimer on Thursday at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

was bred by Lynn's father, John Woolsey, and Lynn has been around Marcutio since he was a young horse.

"I have the ability to read that horse really well," she said. "It seems easier for me than other people, and he's easier for me than other horses."

Marcutio turned things around after his $12,500 claiming victory on Oct. 15 at Bay Meadows.

"That $12,500 race built his confidence," Woolsey said. "He's happy around the barn. He's aggressive in a good way."

Marcutio has had an interesting career. As a 3-year-old in 2002, he went over the rail in a race at Hollywood Park. Later that year, he finished second in the Half Moon Bay Stakes. He came out of that race with an injury that kept him out of action for more than two years. Once he returned, it took him nearly a year and 12 races before he won again.

Woolsey knows Marcutio faces a tough time Thursday. The distance of the race might be a bit longer than he wants, and the turf will be very soft Thursday, something Woolsey's not sure he'll like.

But the race does set up well for him. He's at his best stalking, and ensure an honest pace. Marcutio also has been at his best on the Bay Meadows turf course, where he has four victories in 10 starts.

"If you're going to try something, you want to try it when you're going good," Woolsey said.

Eager Pharisien, coming off a third in the Grade 3 Silky Sullivan, is the one to beat in the race.