11/23/2005 12:00AM

Strategy all-important in Forty Niner


ALBANY, Calif. - Jerry Hollendorfer didn't become the winningest trainer in northern California history simply by sending out talented, fit horses. In addition to his horsemanship, Hollendorfer knows the importance of spotting horses properly. Just as important, he's a master tactician, and it's that quality that he must rely on Friday when he sends out Ace Blue and Trickey Trevor to meet six rivals in the $100,000 Forty Niner Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

Six of the eight runners, including both Hollendorfer entrants, either want the lead or to be laying right off the pace.

"I'll study the Form and try to make a decent plan," he said Tuesday. "I think we'll figure a strategy out after looking at the others."

The strategy for Trickey Trevor may be a simple one. He's a sprinter that Hollendorfer tried at a mile in his last race. He responded with a wire-to-wire victory.

Hollendorfer didn't originally nominate Trickey Trevor to the Forty Niner, but the horse came out of the mile race so well that he supplemented him to Friday's stakes.

Trickey Trevor may not be able to get an easy lead Friday because Bilo, the beaten favorite in the Cal Cup Sprint, is drawn just outside him. Also entered are stakes winner Melanyhasthepapers, who led into the stretch before fading to third at Hollywood Park in his last start, and Saint Buddy, who battled gamely on the lead to win a turf allowance race at Oak Tree in his last start.

Ace Blue has not raced since running 10th in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar three months ago. Before that, he was second in the Grade 2 San Diego, and earlier this year he won the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy after going head-and-head all the way.

Hollendorfer seems to have him fit with a steady series of long drills.

"After his last race, he got a little bit of a temperature," said Hollendorfer, who purchased Ace Blue for Sid and Jenny Craig after the Mervyn LeRoy victory.

"He can have speed or be tactical, whatever you want him to do."

Argentine Grade 1 winner Masterpiece, still looking for his first U.S. victory, will likely come from just off the pace.

A fast pace could set things up for Easy Million, who comes off a victory in the Bull Dog at the Big Fresno Fair and will be sitting back early on Friday. My Creed, likely to be last early, could also be a major player in the lane.