03/24/2003 12:00AM

Peery puts his pair where they can win


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Chuck Peery was able to enjoy the Danville Handicap as a fan last Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.

He originally entered Trickey Trevor and Big League in the six-furlong stakes but took them out when El Dorado Shooter joined the lineup for the race.

Both of Peery's horses will run in Wednesday's Golden Gate co-feature, a six-furlong, $50,000 optional claiming race.

Trickey Trevor beat Big League by a nose in a similar race in his last start and was claimed by Peery for $50,000. He will run for a $50,000 tag again as the only member of the field of six older horses entered for a claiming price.

Before entries were taken for the Danville, Peery thought Russell Baze was going to ride Big League. But Peery lost his rider when El Dorado Shooter was entered with Baze named to ride, and when Presidio Heights - like Trickey Trevor and El Dorado Shooter a front-runner - was entered Peery decided not to run either of his horses. Presidio Heights went on to win the Danville.

Trickey Trevor drew the rail and will have plenty of pace pressure, but not the kind he would have faced in the Danville, where Presidio Heights ran a sizzling opening quarter-mile in 21.08 seconds and a half in 42.89.

Twentythreejaybird, Ex Federali, and Rio's Chase will likely all be asked to go early, leaving My Captain to chase with Big League, who is the one to beat with a stalking trip under Baze.

Fastest fraction in 32 years

People are still buzzing about Presidio Heights's 42.89 half-mile fraction in the Danville. It is believed to be the fastest half-mile clocking at Golden Gate Fields since Vikingson ran a 42.80 in winning an allowance race on June 8, 1971.

"That's the fastest I've ever been on a horse, and I've ridden a lot of fast horses," speed rider extraordinaire Roberto Gonzalez said after the race.

Gonzalez also captured Sunday's Soviet Problem Handicap with Ema Bovary, who held off Lacie Girl by a nose.

Baze was the unlucky rider of both El Dorado Shooter and Lacie Girl.

* Saturday's Berkeley Handicap will mark the comeback of Western Pride, the winner of last year's San Fernando at Santa Anita and runner-up to Milwaukee Brew in the Santa Anita Handicap. He has not raced since poor starts in Dubai and Hong Kong last spring. Halo Cat, who could earn horse of the meeting honors with a victory, will also run in the one-mile race.