04/21/2004 11:00PM

An owner who shows no fear


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Sacramento auto dealer Robert Bone is not afraid to take chances.

"I run them aggressively," he said. "I hate running in spots where I can't win."

Bone, who owns about 60 horses, has come a long way since claiming his first horse with Don Porter, a longtime northern California trainer, 15 years ago.

"I claimed Skip a Folly for $10,000, and she went bad," Bone said. "At that time, $10,000 was everything I had saved up to claim horses."

Bone then joined various partnerships to claim cheaper horses, and worked his way up. Last year his win total of 64 was tied for 23rd in the nation among owners, and he had a winning percentage of 36. For the opening quarter of 2004, he ranks seventh in wins.

The victories and winning percentage come from his aggressive style, and that style could pay off Saturday at Bay Meadows when he and partner Jeff Diener run Captain Squire in the Grade 2, $150,000 San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile on turf.

Captain Squire won the Grade 2 Laz Barrera as a 3-year-old in 2002. Last year, he won the Sunshine Millions Sprint and then ran third in the Grade 1 Golden Shaheen in Dubai.

But in his last race, Captain Squire ran for an $80,000 claiming tag in a one-mile turf race at Santa Anita. He won easily and wasn't claimed.

"It was a tough decision," Bone said of running Captain Squire for a tag. "I lose a good one here or there. With Captain Squire, because he was our first good horse, it was really a tough decision."

Ninebanks looks to defend title

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is another aggressive horseman, and his claim of Ninebanks for $50,000 for Peter Abruzzo on Aug. 3, 2001, has proven to be one of his smartest moves.

Ninebanks has won nine races and $598,693 for Abruzzo, including victories in the California Turf Championship, the Grade 3 Golden Gate Breeders' Cup Handicap, and last year's San Francisco Breeders' Cup.

That doesn't mean he gets any special treatment in the barn, though.

"I like all my horses, and I particularly like him," Hollendorfer said, "but I wouldn't say I have a soft spot in my heart for him."

Ninebanks hasn't run since finishing second to Vallarta in the Pacifica Handicap last Oct. 26.

"He had some problems with one ankle, but he's totally over that," Hollendorfer said.

"I planned on running in this race," he said of the San Francisco BC. "I didn't care who came up here. The horse has been training well, but training well and running well are two different things. We'll see how he runs and evaluate after the race."

Last-minute entries bring field to seven

Seven were entered in the San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile after it looked for most of the week as if only four would run.

Laidlow was also going to enter an allowance race at Hollywood Park, but that race didn't fill. Motel Staff, who is sharp and has a good record over the turf here, is basically a claimer who was originally going to be entered only if he would be the fifth horse in the field. Sanderman was also entered with the thought that only four seemed likely to run.

Fearful of possible scratches, Bay Meadows carded the race as the third, keeping it out of the pick six.

Service for Marshall will be Tuesday

A memorial service for trainer John Terry Marshall will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the Top of the Stretch room at Golden Gate Fields. Marshall, 59, died Saturday.

A naturalized Canadian citizen, Marshall trained British Columbia champion Isolator, as well as stakes winners No Time Flat, Full Scream Ahead, and Grace for You.