01/13/2003 12:00AM

One derby winner begets another


ALBANY, Calif. - Phil Lebherz and Richard Meister became the first owners with two victories in the Golden Gate Derby since the race was renewed in 1997 when Standard Setter scored a wire-to-wire win on Saturday. The Golden Gate Derby was not run from 1960 to 1996.

Epic Honor, owned by Lebherz and Meister, won the Golden Gate Derby in 1999, and if not for Epic Honor, they would not have been in the winner's circle again in 2003.

According to Lebherz, trainer Jeff Bonde had him buy the mare When and Where in order to breed her to Epic Honor. When and Where was pregnant to the cover of Benchmark and was carrying Standard Setter when Lebherz bought her. Lebherz said he has a 2-year-old and a yearling by Epic Honor and out of When and Where, and she is in foal to him again.

Because they owned the mare, Lebherz and Meister are listed as Standard Setter's breeders.

Standard Setter's $36.80 upset win was a credit to his trainer, Bonde, and rider Roberto Gonzalez.

Standard Setter was making his first start around two turns and only his second start since surgery last July. The colt had surgery to remove a "minute chip" from his left knee, Bonde said, following his runner-up effort to Taraval in the Everett Nevin-Alameda County Futurity.

Standard Setter set the pace before losing by a head and a neck to A Memo for Avie and Tactical Strike in his return race on Dec. 20. He worked seven furlongs in 1:25.80 on New Year's Day and a bullet half-mile in 46.60 seconds on Jan. 7.

"He worked seven-eighths as easy as you could work, then he worked a half as easy as a horse can work," Bonde said. "He may not have had all the conditioning we wanted, but we had a fresh horse and a fast horse."

Gonzalez said he was forced to go a little faster than he wanted through the opening quarter, which was run in 22.33 seconds, but he got Standard Setter to relax nicely down the backstretch and didn't panic when favored Ozzie Cat began to cut into his lead on the second turn.

With Epic Honor back in training after being off since 1999 and preparing for the Jan. 25 Sunshine Millions, along with Lebherz and Meister's star filly Erica's Smile (both are Florida-breds), Lebherz and Meister may send When and Where back to be bred to Benchmark.

Privitera stays perfect

The leading percentage rider at Golden Gate Fields is Rick Privitera, a pharmacist's technician who had been retired before scoring his first victory in seven years last April 20.

Privitera rode Senor Bay to victory for trainer Art Sherman on Friday. He rode Running Rooney to victory in November and is 2 for 2 at the meet.

"I'm just doing what I love to do, and I'm having fun doing it," said the 41-year-old Privitera, who returned to gallop horses early last year.

Privitera said his riding career ended "earlier than I wanted," so he became a personal trainer and attended school to become a pharmacist's technician because of his interest in medicine. He was in the pre-med program at St. John's University before returning to the track in 1983.

He works horses primarily for Sherman five days a week and was surprised when Dennis Ward offered to put him on a horse last spring. He won his second start aboard Lost Maid.

Privitera had four wins from 27 mounts in 2002.

Lumpy returns

My Friend Lumpy, 5 for 8 here, returns to Golden Gate Fields for the first time since last March in Wednesday's feature race. My Friend Lumpy was 4 for 4 here last year.

He was claimed for $10,000 by trainer Matthew Chew from his last victory and appears to be the one to beat in a $20,000 claiming race at six furlongs.