12/10/2003 12:00AM

O.K Mikie moves up off claim for $25K


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Jerry McArthur, who just claimed O.K. Mikie for $25,000, will show how highly he regards his new purchase when he sends him out in Saturday's $75,000-added Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

O.K. Mikie, a 2-year-old gelding who has 3 victories in 4 career starts, suffered his lone defeat in the Oct. 19 Bay Meadows Juvenile, his first race at Saturday's one-mile distance.

McArthur said that Ellen Jackson, O.K. Mikie's breeder and former trainer, "said he wasn't fit for that race, that he'd been at her ranch."

O.K. Mikie won at a mile the day McArthur claimed him, Nov. 7, sitting back early as he always does and making a strong, late run.

"I've known Ellen for some time," McArthur said. "Our barns are next to each other. We had been watching him for a while."

McArthur said that when O.K. Mikie was entered for a $25,000 claiming price, owner Charles Lo wanted to claim him. He said that when he told Jackson he and Lo would put in a claim, "She said she knew she was going to lose him and she'd rather have him with me.

"I figured I'd have to shake for him, but I figured there would only be one or two other people interested. When I saw six, I thought, 'Holy moley, they must see something in him, too.' "

McArthur said that Jackson was helpful, telling him of the gelding's "little idiosyncrasies."

McArthur said O.K. Mikie "has a shot" Saturday even though five stakes winners are probably going to run. "I think he'll run good, " he said. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It's not an easy race. I would have run in a first-condition allowance race, but we never had one. He's worked fine since we claimed him. He never works fast, but at the end of each work he finishes strong and shows he's ready."

Hollendorfer fillies lead pack

Two-year-olds will also be featured on Friday when five fillies meet in a six-furlong allowance race that could serve as a prep for the Dec. 27 Corte Madera Stakes at one mile.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer seems to have the two to beat in Heavenly Humor, who drew the rail, and Bending Strings, who drew post 5.

Heavenly Humor lost to stablemate and northern California division leader Wildwood Flower in her debut. She was a five-length wire-to-wire winner over Bending Strings in her second start and will be running for the first time since that Oct. 26 race.

Bending Strings, second to her stablemate in her debut, came back to win by 7 1/2 lengths in the mud here on Nov. 15.