08/01/2001 11:00PM

Red Eye in hunt for stakes

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Trace Bruce Jackson admits he stumbled across Saturday's $100,000 Joseph T. Grace Handicap at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa while searching for a race for Red Eye.

"I didn't even realize this race was running," Jackson said. "There's nothing for him at Del Mar. I was looking at the conditions up north and saw this race. It didn't look a very salty spot."

Run over 1 1/16 miles, the Grace is the richest race on the northern California fair circuit. This fall, it will lose that status when the $101,000 Jessman Cloud Memorial Stakes is run at the Big Fresno Fair.

A 5-year-old, Red Eye is searching for his first stakes win. Sixth in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park on June 10, he was placed first on an allowance race on July 8 following the disqualification of Spicy Stuff from first to second.

Red Eye was drawing near the leaders in midstretch when jockey Gary Stevens was forced to check.

"He shouldn't have been in that situation," Jackson said. "The way he got stopped, he shouldn't have run second."

Red Eye can lead, but is likely to stalk two stakes winners from the northern California fair circuit - Mistakenly Special and Reds Superstar. Mistakenly Special won the six-furlong Finley Handicap at Santa Rosa on July 28, while Red Superstar won the Alamedan Handicap at Pleasanton on July 8.

White Cloud, who was second in the Alamedan, is a closer with a chance. Trained by Allen Severinsen, White Cloud won the California Cup Starter Handicap last fall at Oak Tree.

Jackson is hoping jockey Danny Sorenson can rate Red Eye behind the two probable front-runners.

"There's two pretty speedy horses in there," Jackson said. "All you have to do is sit behind them."