12/02/2004 12:00AM

Process of elimination points out likely winner


ALBANY, Calif. - A late-season first-level allowance race presents a handicapping challenge for fans in Saturday's Golden Gate Fields feature race. Six fillies and mares signed up for the 1 1/8-mile race, which marks new territory for many.

Do you take a runner like Relaxing Green, who has many failures at the level? Do you take a young runner like Waving Flags, who is just starting to make her way through allowance conditions? Do you take a claimer like Campaign Andover, who has the highest victory total, nine, and most earnings, $140,080? Or do you take a sharp claimer on the rise, such as New Water or Embrasse Moi?

Elimination may be the way to come up with a winner.

Sister Mary Hugh is the first one out. She is winless this year and has done her best running on the turf. She hails from a barn that is 0 for 66 this year.

Three straight double-digit losses eliminate Campaign Andover.

New Water was claimed by leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer for $25,000 from a second-place finish on the turf in her last start. Both of her career victories have come on the turf as they have for Hollendorfer's other entrant, Relaxing Green.

Waving Flags has run only four times and her lone win was at one mile, but this is a big jump from the six-furlong sprint she exits.

That leaves Embrasse Moi, who just won at 1 1/16 miles in a $32,000 claimer. She will be well placed early, and though she was last at the distance on the turf Oct. 14, after a 6 1/2-week layoff, she was beaten only seven lengths.

Alvarado has red-hot week

Not even a dropped whip could stop jockey Frank Alvarado in Thursday's first race, in which he rode French Roast to a front-running victory in a $40,000 claimer at one mile on the turf. It was Alvarado's sixth straight victory this week, including the five straight races he won Wednesday.

"I've won five before, but 5 for 5, that's the first time," Alvarado said. "They ran like they're supposed to run. Whenever I needed a hole, one would open up. Everything was perfect."

* Fans bringing a canned food item to the track Saturday will receive free admission.