05/28/2004 11:00PM

Reba's Gold set to repeat


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Reba's Gold will meet several sharp horses when he tries to score a repeat in the Grade 3, $125,000 Seabiscuit Breeders' Cup Handicap on Monday at Bay Meadows.

Last year, he won the 1 1/16-mile race off a six-month layoff. On Monday, he will try to win after a layoff of nearly eight months.

Reba's Gold proved last year that he can fire fresh, and trainer Dan Hendricks is confident he will run well again this year.

"The horse is doing great," said Hendricks, who believes he is not asking too much of the 7-year-old in his first start back.

The Seabiscuit has been Hendricks's goal for Reba's Gold all along.

"Seabiscuit is such a known commodity now," he said. "People know the name. It was fun to win it, and it would be fun to win it again."

Reba's Gold has only four rivals, compared to the five he faced last year in the race, when he went off as the 2-1 favorite and romped by eight lengths. But, he will have two razor-sharp opponents in Snorter and Yougottawanna.

Snorter won the Grade 3 Berkeley Breeders' Cup Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on March 27 for his first stakes win. He had three straight victories before running fourth as the favorite in the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star a month later.

He earned a 101 Beyer in that race, his second straight triple-digit rating.

"He's doing good," said Humberto Ascanio, assistant to trainer Bobby Frankel. "At Texas, he was not comfortable with the track."

Yougottawanna, who was second to Snorter in the Berkeley, has earned three straight triple-digit Beyers, winning two of those three races.

Trainer John Martin claimed him for $50,000 from a victory. He was second in the Berkeley in his first start for Martin, then won an $80,000 claimer and was re-claimed by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, albeit for a different owner.

Hollendorfer also sends out Gold Ruckus, who has missed a paycheck only once in nine starts since recovering from a fractured shoulder. Calkins Road, a Cal-bred, rounds out the field.

Yougottawanna will likely inherit the lead in a fairly paceless race, although he is best when sitting just off the lead. Reba's Gold will likely be second in the early going and should get first run before having to hold off Snorter late.