12/28/2005 1:00AM

An outside shot at 200 wins


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Art Sherman, with 192 wins entering Wednesday's racing, has an outside shot at 200 victories for the year. King Farouk will try to get him one win closer in Friday's Bay Meadows feature, a first-level allowance race at six furlongs.

The 3-year-old ran third in his debut to Awesome Humor, who then came right back to beat winners. King Farouk won his second start, scampering home as the odds-on choice in a $62,500 maiden claimer Dec. 8 at Hollywood Park.

King Farouk on Friday will face Robert E, who won the next race that same day at Hollywood Park. Robert E, a 5-year-old gelding, earned a 100 Beyer that day while winning a $40,000 claiming sprint, his second straight victory, and was claimed by Rene Amescua. In his previous race, he earned a 96 Beyer, which is higher than the career best of any of his opponents Friday.

has put things together this year, winning five times, and is one of those hard-knocking claimers that always proves tough when moved to allowance competition.

King Farouk, a modest $12,000 yearling purchase, is "a trier," Sherman said.

"He's one of those horses that gives you his all every time he goes to the track," he said.

But Sherman knows King Farouk will have his hands full with Robert E.

"It will be a challenge because that's a pretty fast horse," Sherman said.

King Farouk will stalk Robert E and hope some of the other speed in the race might be able to soften up his rival down the backstretch. King Farouk handles the turns well and should be in contention turning for home.

Regardless of whether King Farouk can get Sherman closer to 200, he is the type of horse that has helped elevate Sherman to second in the 2005 northern California trainer standings behind perennial leader Jerry Hollendorfer.

"I'm having a lot of fun," Sherman said. "We're upgrading our stock, and we have some new owners.

"We have a lot of horses coming back now so, hopefully, we'll be able to do as well again next year."