12/28/2007 1:00AM

Reba Is Tops looks to double up

EmailALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Bud Klokstad says it was a combination of his eye for horses and an owner's handicapping ability that led to his claim of Reba Is Tops.

Reba Is Tops steps up off a win in first-level allowance company in Sunday's Golden Gate feature, a $50,000 optional claimer that is also a second-level allowance race at six furlongs.

Klokstad claimed Reba Is Tops from her third start, a victory in a $17,500 claiming race at Emerald Downs on July 1. She had won her debut in a $12,500 maiden claimer at Emerald, then finished fourth and was moved up to third on a disqualification in a $17,500 claimer there. That race impressed one of her current owners, Klokstad said.

"Eric Schweiger, one of the guys who claimed her, really liked her," Klokstad said. "He bet her and had watched her closely. She got in a whole lot of trouble that day, and after the race he said he wanted to claim her. I told him if she looks all right, I'd claim her. When I saw her coming over for her next race, she was a pretty big, good-looking filly, so we dropped the claim."

Klokstad has spotted her carefully. She won a $32,000 claimer at Emerald on July 14 in her first start for him. He waited until Sept. 2 to try her in a $50,000 optional claimer, and she finished sixth after being fanned wide on the turn. He brought her back three weeks later in another $32,000 claimer at Emerald, and she won wire to wire by 5 3/4 lengths.

Klokstad brought her to Golden Gate, but didn't run her until Nov. 17 in a first-level allowance sprint.

"I knew where I wanted to run her," Klokstad said, adding that he didn't want to run her for a tag. "I just waited till the right race came along."

Reba Is Tops tired to finish third under Chad Schvaneveldt, beaten three lengths by the talented Wood Art, who went on to win a $50,000 optional claiming race.

"She needed that first race, and we made a mistake and moved too quick," Klokstad said.

With Carlos Gonzalez aboard in a Dec. 8 first-level allowance, Reba Is Tops rallied from fourth and pulled away to a 2 1/2-length victory.

A win on Saturday could launch her into stakes consideration, Klokstad said.

She has six rivals in the race, including the stakes winner Butters, the stakes-placed Fancy and Free, Running Apache, and Victory Script.