05/23/2001 11:00PM

Post puts 'Dorado' on fence


SAN MATEO, Calif. - El Dorado Shooter, northern California's premier sprinter, is the one to beat despite drawing the rail against such tough foes as Gibson County and Five Star Day in the $50,000 Saratoga Handicap at six furlongs at Bay Meadows Saturday.

El Dorado Shooter's trainer, Cliff Delima, was not happy about drawing the rail, and said he will probably enter Sunday's $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park, and consider scratching out of Saturday's Saratoga.

"That was the one post I didn't want to get," Delima said. "I might change my mind now. I might scratch him and run Sunday."

Delima, who is managing El Dorado Shooter's campaign with a possible start in the Breeders' Cup Sprint in mind, was looking for the easiest spot possible this weekend, because his horse has not started since Mar. 25. He was entered in the Oakland Handicap here April 21, but had to be scratched because of a minor virus.

However, with the rail, and with Gibson County and Five Star Day in the field, he might want to see what post he gets in the Los Angeles, and the possibly run for $100,000 against Caller One instead.

"They [Gibson County and Five Star Day] are probably here because they want to duck Caller One," Delima said.

El Dorado Shooter has won three races in a row, five of his last six, and eight of 11 lifetime. In his last three, all at Golden Gate, he has won the Montclair with a 104 Beyer Speed Figure, the Ken Maddy with a 116, and the Danville with a 111.

El Dorado Shooter is a speed horse, as are Gibson County and Five Star Day. In a speed duel, the best place to be on an unbiased track is the outside, which is where Five Star Day is.

Five Star Day, trained by Beau Greely, won the Grade 3 Phoenix Breeder's Cup at Keeneland last October with a 116 Beyer. After that, he was only 13-1 in the Breeders' Cup Sprint in a 14-horse field, but was bumped at the start and finished last. After he came back with another last-place finish in the Hollywood Turf Express Nov. 24, he was given some time off and will be making his comeback Saturday. His works look solid.

Gibson County, from the Bob Baffert barn, will be returning from a 9 1/2-month layoff, but he has been training brilliantly. He won four of 11 starts last year and was Grade 2-placed. In his last two starts of 2000 he posted 106 Beyers.