08/07/2001 11:00PM

Phone Prospector seeks third straight

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Phone Prospector, a long-time maiden who has now won two in a row, may offer some value as he steps up in class again in Friday night's six-furlong, $32,000 allowance feature at Bay Meadows Fair.

Phone Prospector, trained by Gil Matos, lost his first 15 starts, mostly in straight maiden company, but finished second eight times and third four times.

Matos dropped him into a $25,000 maiden claimer here on June 2, and he won by 2 1/2 lengths, going away. Brought back in a restricted $25,000 claimer, he again scored a solid victory, winning by 2 1/4 lengths.

Phone Prospector is meeting tougher Friday night, but he has always had ability, and has obviously gotten over any tendency to wait for other horses. He might be good enough to move up the ladder.

The main threats are probably Silver Prince, who has finished second at this first allowance level the last two times he has sprinted, and Chief Swan, a 4-year-old who won a restricted $25,000 claiming race at Pleasanton in his last start.

Arterburn back in familiar territory

Trainer Lonnie Arterburn, who took 35 horses to Delaware Park in April, has returned to northern California. The trainer had a fairly successful meeting, winning eight races from 43 starts, but said 22 of his horses were claimed, and he sold seven others. He said nine of his first 11 starters were claimed the first time he ran them, all for higher prices than they had been running for in California.

"I only brought six horses back," the trainer said. "I tried to re-claim a few and stay longer, but there was so much claiming activity that I was outshook 15 times in a row."

Other northern California trainers have been doing well at other tracks this summer. Brent Sumja went into Wednesday's races 13 for 88 at Delaware Park; Jeff Bonde was 5 for 28 at Monmouth, and Jerry Hollendorfer is 19 for 97 and the leading trainer at Arlington Park.