07/05/2006 11:00PM

Post-Dubai test for Jet West


PLEASANTON, Calif. - No Lost in the Fog? No Carthage? No problem.

Saturday's running of the $50,000 Sam J. Whiting Handicap at the Alameda County Fair still offers some of California's best sprinters, including Jet West, third in the Golden Shaheen in Dubai in March in his last start.

Jet West looms the favorite in the six-furlong race despite the presence of defending champ Bonfante and Flying Supercon, who ran second to Bonfante last year. Also entered is speedball Stone Rain, closer Old Man River, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained entry of Lion Andthe Lamb and Jeffries Bay, Court's in Session, and Athlete.

Jet West completed a Cal-bred trifecta in the $2 million Dubai Sprint and makes his first start since.

"The Dubai trip took its toll on him," said Jet West's trainer, Ted West. "We knew it would be difficult going in, but we didn't know how much it would be taking out of him. He was laying down quite a bit that first month."

Jet West is 0 for 4 this year, having lost photos in the Grade 3 El Conejo and Grade 2 Palos Verdes and running fourth in the Grade 2 San Carlos before the Golden Shaheen.

"He got lost in the shuffle early, which isn't like him," West said of Jet West's effort in the Golden Shaheen. "He made a big run to get third. He's really been unlucky to lose some of these races this year."

West is eyeing the Bing Crosby July 30 at Del Mar for Jet West.

"We've come back slowly with him," West said. "He's never been a great horse in the morning, but he's trained as well as he did before going to Dubai."

Bonfante won his first start of the year in the $100,000 California Turf Sprint Championship. He came back quickly and paid the price against Carthage and Trickey Trevor in the Grade 3 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint on June 4. But he has trained well since.

The one they'll have to catch is Stone Rain, who has won three straight sprints in wire-to-wire style and takes a big step up in here.

"He's a hot horse, a sharp horse moving up," said trainer Billy Morey.

"I wasn't really thrilled to hear they were running Jet West. If Jet West runs his best race, he looks pretty unbeatable. But going to Dubai sometimes takes something out of them."