11/05/2003 12:00AM

My Captain takes on two comebackers


ALBANY, Calif. - Sirpa and Souvenir's Lad will make comebacks in Saturday's $60,000-added Albany Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

Sirpa has not run since winning the Pacifica Handicap on Oct. 26, 2002, at Bay Meadows. Souvenir's Lad has not run since the California Derby on April 12.

The presence of My Captain makes it a tough spot for a comeback, but trainer Jerry Hollendorfer calls the six-furlong race "a good starting point" for Sirpa.

Trainer Jeff Bonde nominated Souvenir's Lad as the lone 3-year-old in the race. "We'd either have to run him for $40,000 or here," he said.

Sirpa's best running has been at a route. He has shown good stalking speed when routing, and his breeding indicates he should be effective sprinting.

Souvenir's Lad is unbeaten in two starts here. He won a two-furlong race as a 2-year-old and was sent to Kentucky to compete in the Three Chimneys Juvenile. He drew the 13 post, was 10 wide down the backstretch, and finished in midpack, suffering a minor ankle chip.

He returned after a 10-month layoff to win wire to wire here in March, then set a sizzling 1:08.42 six-furlong fraction before fading badly in the California Derby.

He again suffered a small ankle chip and had it surgically removed.

"He's running the correct distance this time," Bonde said. "I'd like to work him one more three-quarters, but he's looked good and really jumped out of the gate Wednesday morning."

Stakes winners meet in Friday feature

Six sprinters running for a $40,000 claiming tag meet in Friday's feature at six furlongs.

Stakes winners Con Quixote, Beyond Brilliant, and Sempai are entered. Those three and Deas Island could battle for the lead.

Con Quixote opened a two-length lead down the backstretch in the California Sprint Championship Handicap at Bay Meadows in his last start. Beyond Brilliant set the pace in the Bull Dog Handicap at Fresno.

Sempai, a wire-to-wire winner in the 2002 Ernest Finley at Santa Rosa, hasn't shown quite as much early foot this year, stalking fast paces in his two races at Bay Meadows following a layoff. Deas Island showed little in his turf debut at Bay Meadows but flashed good speed at Emerald Downs.

The speed could set things up for the consistent Big League, who has four victories, two seconds, and three thirds in 11 starts this year.

No Toro, off since Feb. 13, is another stalker who beat My Captain, the probable favorite in Saturday's Albany Handicap, earlier this year.