04/06/2006 12:00AM

Press Camp tries to carry speed a mile


ALBANY, Calif. - Saturday's $40,000 San Ramon, a one-mile overnight stakes at Golden Gate Fields, offers handicappers a classic dilemma.

Do they want a speedster stretching out for the first time or a runner proven at the distance?

is the speedster. She earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure in a wire-to-wire allowance sprint win, then came back to win in front-running fashion again in an overnight sprint stakes.

Bai and Bai is the proven commodity. She ran second to Sierra Sweetie in her lone try at a mile and has a pair of stakes victories at 1 1/16 miles, including the Telegraph Hill in her last start.

Three other 3-year-old fillies are entered, including Comic Queen, who won a $40,000 starter allowance at a mile in her last start and first try around two turns.

"She's been a pleasant surprise and has done nothing wrong," trainer Eldwin Burch said. "She came back last time like she'd just been out for a jog."

Dixie Whistle, runner-up to Comic Queen in that mile race, and the maiden Smart Beat round out the field.

On paper, it seems like a two-horse race.

Press Camp will be on the lead. will sit several lengths back in a stalking position.

"I'm concerned about Press Camp," said Bill Delia, Bai and Bai's trainer. "Speed's always dangerous,"

Although he respects Press Camp, Delia is confident about Bai and Bai's chances.

"The fact she's had that experience around two turns and been in a number of tough races helps a lot," Delia said. "Our filly's doing well. We've had this race planned all along. I'm excited about her chances."

Press Camp's trainer, Bill Morey, said he had been looking for a chance to stretch her out. A loss in Press Camp's last race convinced Morey the time to stretch out was now.

Press Camp hopped at the start, getting away badly, and was last at the half-mile pole in the Eire Go Brach. She moved up nicely on the turn and got the lead in the lane only to be nipped at the wire by Victorina.

"That helped give us a little confidence," Morey said. "The fact that she settled even though off the pace was good, although if she breaks here, I'm pretty sure she'll be in front. This is a big experiment to see if she'll take to a mile."

Bai and Bai finished ahead of Press Camp in the California Breeders' Championship at Santa Anita in December, but neither ran her race that day, and both have improved since.