09/14/2004 12:00AM

Sherman takes two shots at 'Yodeler'

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Art Sherman knows that Greenie and Banker Badgett have their work cut out for them if they are going to win Thursday's Bay Meadows feature, a $40,000 optional claimer for 3-year-olds at six furlongs.

Greenie, who was nominated to last weekend's California Sprint Championship, is coming off an impressive win in a $50,000 claimer at Del Mar. Banker Badgett won his debut in a $25,000 maiden claimer at the Bay Meadows Fair in impressive style, rallying nicely after breaking slowly.

While Sherman believes both Greenie and Banker Badgett have bright futures, he knows Thursday's race will be tough because of the presence of Bailey's Yodeler, who has won 6 of 8 career starts and was just second to Sherman's top 3-year-old, Jet West, in the Earlene McCabe Derby at the State Fair in Sacramento.

Sherman knows Bailey's Yodeler quite well. He claimed him from his second start and won three straight races with him before losing him on a claim to trainer Jamey Thomas. While he admires Bailey's Yodeler, Sherman noted the horse has two bowed tendons.

"I'm not taking anything away from him, but knowing the problems that horse has, I wonder what the last race took out of him," Sherman said. "He's a wonderful horse. He has so much heart. He held on strong after Jet West passed him.

"But when horses are that competitive, tough races can wear them down. I know we had to be as easy on him as we could between races. If his legs were better, he'd be a stakes winner by now because he's all racehorse."

Sherman claimed Bailey's Yodeler for $12,500 after he won his debut for $16,000. He won twice for $6,250 and was claimed for $8,000 as he went 3 for 3 under Sherman's care.

It may be up to Greenie to provide the early pressure on Bailey's Yodeler, who drew the outside post in the field of six.

"He's a pretty good horse," said Sherman, who ran Greenie for the first time on April 1. "We always knew he had talent and thought he would be tougher later in the year,"

Greenie won his first two starts in wire-to-wire style but has learned to rate a little.

Banker Badgett broke slowly, sat in midpack, and finished strongly in his debut, and will have plenty of speed to set things up for him here.