09/10/2006 11:00PM

Noe Valley looks next for Victorina


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Greg Gilchrist was frustrated last week when the Alameda, a stakes in which he hoped to run his talented 2-year-old colt Vicarino, was canceled.

Gilchrist was not overly optimistic that his multiple stakes-winning filly Victorina would get to run this Saturday, but early indications are that the $50,000 Noe Valley Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, will attract enough entrants.

Victorina, who, like Vicarino, is owned by Harry Aleo, is coming off a victory in the Grade 3, $300,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup Handicap at Calder. Before that, Victorina ran third in the Grade 3 Dogwood Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs, a one-turn mile. Victorina has earned $330,378, never finishing off the board in eight starts, Gilchrist, who can bob and weave with the best of them, downplayed Victorina's chances, saying, "I don't know if it's for her. She's never gone 1 1/16 miles, and she's never gone around two turns."

That being said, Gilchrist knows he will be saddling the favorite.

He considered running Victorina in the $100,000 Torrey Pines at a mile on Sept. 1 at Del Mar, but instead opted for the Noe Valley.

"We were going to run in the Torrey Pines," he said. "It was worth twice as much. But we decided this would be a good spot to see if she can run a route of ground. If you can't be competitive at home, you shouldn't ship."

Victorina's third-place finish in the Dogwood eased some of the doubts Gilchrist might have had.

"It did show she can run a mile," he said. "Now, she'll have to show she can handle two turns.

"I think a one-turn mile is easier on a horse. They're not switching leads early. They think they're in a sprint, although when they get to the quarter pole, they must wonder why they feel so tired."

Gilchrist said Victorina, a smallish filly, needs some rest between starts, but if she runs well Saturday, there are plenty of two-turn route opportunities in races with high purses.

Lost in the Fog back home

Lost in the Fog returned to Golden Gate Fields on Saturday following his first chemotherapy session at the University of California at Davis. His next treatment will come the week of Sept. 25.

"I think it affected him a little bit," Gilchrist said of the treatment, "but he's eating and he's drinking.

"He seems a little tired, but that's to be expected. I think he'll snap out of it."

Trouble finds Surf Academy in debut

Last week was a pretty good one for jockey Victor Espinoza, who won seven races at Del Mar on Labor Day and the Del Mar Futurity last Wednesday. His luck didn't hold, though, when he came here Friday to ride a maiden for Neil Drysdale.

Surf Academy, a 2-year-old, was making his debut in a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 2-year-olds. Bet down to 1-2 favoritism, he crossed the wire third.

Surf Academy was probably the best horse in the race, but he lost by a length and a nose to Cee's for Clever. Surf Academy was bumped twice through the stretch by Just What I Wanted, who was disqualified from second to third and whose jockey, Juan Ochoa, received a three-day suspension for his ride.

Surf Academy, whom Drysdale suggested might be a bit green, broke slowly and was content to be last down the backstretch. Espinoza rallied three wide on the turn, then swung six wide in the lane, but Just What I Wanted kept coming out, bumping him twice and then coming out again as Surf Academy shied away from contact.

"I wanted him to have a good experience, and I put him out wide just so something like that wouldn't happen," Espinoza said. "The first time, you don't want to be too aggressive with a horse. I think he'll be a good one."

Solid effort by Bold Chieftain

Bold Chieftain, third in the Real Good Deal after taking time off for a shin injury, passed an allowance test with flying colors on the turf Sunday.

"He could develop into a nice colt," winning trainer Bill Morey Jr. said. "Now we know he can run on both turf and dirt. I'd love to see him stay on the turf. He handled it nicely, and it will be easier on him."

Russell Baze said the colt relaxed nicely and dug in when challenged by Bedlam Birdie, who seemed to put his head in front, as the field turned for home.

Stewards hand down rulings

Owner/trainer Mark Hanna was suspended 90 days, from Sept. 3 through Dec. 1, and denied access to all racing premises for training horses for a person ineligible to be licensed.

Trainer Ray Thomas was fined $2,500 and ordered to complete an anger management course as the result of an altercation July 17 at the Solano County Fair.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was fined $1,500 because Go Cub Go, winner of a July 3 race at Pleasanton, tested positive for an overage of phenylbutazone. Trainer Effrain Miranda was fined $400 after Maebe Valid also tested in excess for phenylbutazone following his second-place finish July 31 at Santa Rosa.

Golf tournament to benefit Sunny Ho

Agents Ray Harris and Bob Hack are sponsoring a benefit golf tournament for disabled jockey Sunny Ho, who is still recovering from a brain injury following a spill on March 1.

The entry fee for the tournament, to be held at Spring Valley Golf Club in Milpitas, Calif., is $125. More information is available from Harris at (510) 912-2775 or from Hack at (510) 409-7386.