04/26/2007 11:00PM

Oakland Handicap full of speed


Long before Eclipse winner Lost in the Fog and Smokey Stover, Northern California was known for depth in the sprint ranks. And that still holds true today, as evidenced by Sunday's $50,000-added Oakland Handicap at six furlongs. The Oakland attracted eight runners, including five stakes winners and three multiple-stakes-placed runners.

"You can make a good, strong case for everyone," said trainer Billy Morey, whose Britt's Jules will be attempting to get his first stakes win after recording three straight triple-digit Beyers Speed Figures.

"With these runners, you could probably run the race eight times and might have eight different winners," Vaderator's trainer, Dean Pederson, said. "It could come down to how the track's playing and who gets the clean trip."

Vaderator won the six-furlong Fairfax here Feb. 3, holding off Britt's Jules by a nose after setting sizzling fractions. He ran third in his most recent start, the five-furlong California Sprint Championship on the turf March 31, which went to Bonfante, who won the Grade 2 Potrero Grande in his next start.

In addition to Vaderator, there is plenty of speed in the race with Stone Rain, Barber, Trickey Trevor, and even Smudgeledo.

Vaderator, with jockey Frank Alvarado, is drawn outside all his pace rivals except Trickey Trevor, who could not match him speed-wise in the Fairfax.

Pederson is glad that Vaderator is back on the main track.

"The other day, he ran well, but Frank commented he didn't have the acceleration he normally does," he said. "He got an easy lead, but instead of kicking and running, he finished evenly. The way Bonfante ran in the Potrero Grande gives the Bay Meadows race credibility."

With all the speed, Morey hopes the race will set up perfectly for Britt's Jules, who can stalk from just off the pace.

"On paper, it looks like there's plenty of speed, which should be good for him," Morey said.

In addition to the loss by a nose to Vaderator, Britt's Jules lost by one length to Smokey Stover in the Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint in his last start March 11.

Morey eased back a bit on training Britt's Jules after that race. He hopes Britt's Jules is cranked up again after a bullet 59.20 five-furlong work last Saturday.

"I'm proud of the way he's run, but a little disappointed he hasn't won a stakes," said Morey, who has seen Britt's Jules earn Beyers of 101, 100, and 102 since he claimed him for $25,000.