04/29/2007 11:00PM

Ready for Derby raid


ALBANY, Calif. - "Hopefully, it's the start of a big week," owner Dan Jelladian said after Trickey Trevor's victory in Sunday's Oakland Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

The big week for Jelladian would include another victory Saturday at Churchill Downs, when Bwana Bull competes in the Kentucky Derby.

Last year, Trickey Trevor won the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap on Derby Day.

"When Trickey Trevor won at Churchill Downs, it was like a dream come true," Jelladian said. "It's something I'll never forget. Going to the Derby this year would be the coup de grace."

Bwana Bull was Northern California's best Derby hope after winning the California Derby and El Camino Real Derby, but he did nothing to distinguish himself with a fifth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby, although he did earn a career-best 91 Beyer Speed Figure.

"I don't think he ran at all in that last race," Jelladian said. "He wasn't tired. He didn't even drink any water when they gave it to him after the race."

The $15,000 he earned for that fifth-place finish combined with $110,000 for winning the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby gave him the graded earnings he needed to be assured of a spot in the Derby field.

Bwana Bull's trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer, indicated Bwana Bull would come off the Derby trail following the Santa Anita Derby. Bwana Bull had two slow works at Bay Meadows after the Santa Anita Derby, and Hollendorfer sent him to Churchill Downs last week with Hystericalady, who is going to run in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on Derby Day.

Hollendorfer said he intended to run Bwana Bull in last Saturday's Derby Trial, but the colt skinned his leg during the trip, drew post 1 for the Derby Trial, and was scratched. Hollendorfer said the leg injury was "superficial," and the decision to scratch came mostly because he didn't like the inside post.

Then came the surprising announcement that Bwana Bull would run in the Derby.

Asked if the decision to run in the Derby was his or the owner's, Hollendorfer said: "In this case, I don't own a piece of this horse. He's qualified, and when, unfortunately, he wasn't able to run, since he was here it was decided to give him a shot."

Jelladian, who owns the colt with Mark DeDominico and George Todaro, said of the decision: "I'm happy as a clam. I can't wait. I never wanted to run in the Trial. That was not the right race for him."

Chinese Dragon targets BC Mile

Chinese Dragon and Trickey Trevor both looked good winning last stakes last weekend at Golden Gate.

Chinese Dragon returned from more than a year on the sidelines to capture the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile on Saturday.

He got a great ride from Mike Smith, who kept him covered up through much of the race then sent him through on the rail to pass the tiring Becrux. Chinese Dragon ran his closing quarter in 22.95 to defeat Vega's Lord by a nose.

Trainer Bob Hess Jr. said the Breeders' Cup Mile is Chinese Dragon's main goal.

In the Oakland Handicap on Sunday, Stone Rain made Trickey Trevor's job easy by running perhaps the fastest opening half-mile in Golden Gate Fields history, 42.73. Stone Rain tired and Trickey Trevor rallied for the win.

Bells Fool favored in optional claimer

Bells Fool, who went to the sidelines for 21 months after scoring 15- and 11-length victories in his final two starts of 2005, will be the one to catch in Wednesday's feature, a $32,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles. He set the pace against better on the turf at Santa Anita in his April 12 comeback before stopping badly.

Switzerland, Putmeinyourwill, and Bullish Yield, who finished within a half-length of each other in a March 31 race at Bay Meadows, also are entered.

* Golden Gate Fields will offer $1 admission, parking, programs, hot dogs, beer, and soda on Sundays during the meet. The track's other big promotion of the spring begins Saturday. Fans who attend the track for each of the three Triple Crown races will receive a free zippered nylon jacket on closing day, June 10. To be eligible, fans must join the free Thoroughbreds Club.