03/22/2005 12:00AM

McLean pair both could be battling for lead


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Bill McLean is facing one of those delightful dilemmas that can crop up in racing.

He has two horses who fit perfectly in Thursday's Bay Meadows feature, a 1 1/16-mile allowance race on the turf. The bad news is that stablemates Sixty Two Lincoln and Dancin Candy have similar styles. Both have good early speed and could be involved in a pace battle.

, an $8,000 claim on Feb. 15, 2003, did not win for McLean until last Sept. 6, in a $6,250 claimer on turf here.

He started his current three-race win streak in a $6,250 turf race at Golden Gate Fields on Nov. 25. He stepped up to $8,000 and won on Dec. 18, then doubled his claiming price to $16,000 and won again, earning a career-best 90 Beyer in his last start, on Jan. 19.

"He really took to the turf there and got some confidence," McLean said. "We haven't run him since because it's hard to find a good spot."

McLean will use Sixty Two Lincoln only on the turf now, and he has come to the conclusion that the 6-year-old gelding appreciates time between starts. McLean also believes he has found the perfect rider in Roberto Gonzalez.

"Gonzo lets him break, and if nobody goes, he goes, but he lets him run free and gets good position," McLean said. "He used to, if he was chasing a horse too long, spit it out because he'd get tired of chasing, but he showed he could do that when he started his win streak."

, a $32,000 claim on Oct. 23, 2003, when he won his maiden, has run well in allowance company on the turf, but his two career victories have come on the main track. He has handled wet tracks well, so McLean isn't concerned about surface for him.

Dancin Candy was beaten 24 lengths in an allowance on the Hollywood turf course in December, a race that "took a toll on him," according to McLean. It's only in his past two starts that he has begun to rebound.

There is a lot of speed in Thursday's field of 12, and McLean admits, "I was kind of hoping they'd run a split and I'd get one in each race. It's going to be a good race if it stays on the turf."

Hoax, who just won for a $32,000 tag, could benefit from the abundance of pace.

Fly and Eagle, who will be closer to the front than Hoax, could be tough on either surface.