03/11/2002 12:00AM

Northern Quest to defend title in Golden Gate BC


ALBANY, Calif. - Yougottawanna became the meet's top 3-year-old by winning the El Camino Real Derby last weekend, and on Saturday the meet's top older horse will likely be determined in the $200,000 Golden Gate Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Nineteen were nominated to the Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile turf race, with trainer Bobby Frankel planning to send two horses up for the race.

Frankel has said defending champion Northern Quest will be back. Frankel will also send Sumitas, the second highweight at 119 pounds. Northern Quest gets in at 118 pounds. Irish Prize, who is not expected to run, was assigned high weight of 122 pounds.

Frankel will have Kent Desormeaux ride Sumitas and has tabbed Russell Baze to ride Northern Quest.

Two other trainers have said they will enter a horse in the race. Laura deSeroux will enter Agol Luck, who will carry 114 pounds and be ridden by Ron Warren Jr. Tim McCanna will run Poker Brad at 113 pounds with Frank Alvarado scheduled to ride.

Plans for Yougottawanna

Yougottawanna and Danthebluegrassman, the one-two finishers in the El Camino Real Derby, both came out of the race in good shape. Danthebluegrassman was vanned back to Bob Baffert's barn in Southern California on Sunday morning.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer talked Sunday with owners Ted Aroney and Sid Craig about Yougottawanna's next race. "He's nominated to everything," Hollendorfer said.

The most likely possibility is the Santa Anita Derby, but the Blue Grass Stakes, the Illinois Derby or even the California Derby at Bay Meadows are also being considered.

"He seems to prefer deeper tracks," Hollendorfer said.

Hollendorfer said that Yougottawanna likes the Santa Anita surface. He also said he'd like Jason Lumpkins to remain aboard the colt.

Hollendorfer was disappointed by Cappuchino's eighth-place finish in the El Camino Real, and said the California Derby might be his next start.

"He didn't handle the track," Hollendorfer said. "I didn't like the way he was moving down the backstretch. He was very tired after the race. It's like if you were trying to run in loose sand on the beach."

Handle for El Camino Real Derby Day was $7,688,207, up 13 percent from last year.

Ultimate Hitman looks tough

Six 3-year-olds meet in Wednesday's feature, a $40,000 optional claimer at six furlongs.

Ultimate Hitman is the likely favorite as he makes his third start after a two-month layoff. Ultimate Hitman won his comeback race, beating Skip a Payment, one of his Wednesday rivals. He finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in his next start, finishing ahead of Golden Peace, another of Wednesday's rivals and a stablemate of Skip a Payment.

Goodnews Bay, Dienekes, and Mountain Flag round out the field.