08/05/2005 12:00AM

One colt seems to stick out


SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is all about winning on the racetrack.

But even he had to be pleased with the effort Cause to Believe gave when beaten three-quarters of a length in the Malcolm Anderson on June 18 at Golden Gate Fields.

With that strong race coming on the heels of an impressive maiden victory, Cause to Believe will be a prohibitive favorite in Sunday's $50,000-added Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes at the Sonoma County Fair. Cavonnier, the 1996 Kentucky Derby runner-up who got his maiden win here and lives 15 minutes from the track at Barbara Walter's Sebastopol ranch, will be paraded on the track prior to the race.

Nine rivals will take on , ranging from a maiden filly, to a colt who was well beaten in Cause to Believe's maiden victory, to another colt who won the first 2-year-old race of the year in northern California and has run in three stakes since then.

With opening fractions of 20.97 and 44.48 in the Malcolm Anderson, Cause to Believe had to come from off the pace. His chances seemed compromised when he was shuffled back 12 lengths behind the dueling leaders on the turn.

He swung five wide in the stretch and began to pick up momentum, rallying for second while running his final furlong in a bit better than 12 seconds in the five-furlong race. He would have won by daylight had the race been at Sunday's 5 1/2-furlong distance.

"I'd rather see him lay up closer," said Hollendorfer, who will go to his ace, Russell Baze, for Sunday's ride. "But he did finish well."

Trainer Gil Matos sends out two to challenge Cause to Believe.

was beaten 13 1/4 lengths by Cause to Believe in his debut but graduated in his next start. He comes into the race with a best-of-43 half-mile drill.

"He's a nice colt who should be part of the pace," Matos said. "He had a little trouble in his first start. The second race was the kind we expected him to run in his debut."

Matos also sends out maiden claiming winner Debonair Red, who has shown improvement of late.