02/15/2006 1:00AM

Test for Point Determined


ALBANY, Calif. - Point Determined, one of trainer Bob Baffert's Kentucky Derby hopefuls, will use a one-mile, $80,000 optional claimer at Golden Gate Fields on Friday as a potential stepping-stone to bigger things.

Though Point Determined seems to tower above his four competitors, the race could be an important one in his development.

Baffert has a history of using races in northern California as testing grounds. Cavonnier, the 1996 Kentucky Derby runner-up, won the El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows. Real Quiet finished last in the 1998 Golden Gate Derby, but came back to win the Kentucky Derby.

"I've had good luck preparing horses for the Derby up there," Baffert said from Southern California.

, a $750,000 Barretts purchase by Bob and Beverly Lewis, has made three starts, all at Santa Anita, finishing third in a maiden sprint, winning a 1 1/16-mile maiden race, and running second in a one-mile allowance race.

Baffert is hoping to run Point Determined in the Santa Anita Derby, and sees Friday's race as a needed prep for what he calls a "very lazy" colt. Baffert said that there's a suitable race for Point Determined on Sunday at Santa Anita, an optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles, but he's not sure whether the race will fill.

"I want to send him up because I need to get one more race into him before he meets the big boys," Baffert said.

"He's the kind of horse that's been slow coming around," Baffert said. "He needs one more race now, two before the [Kentucky] Derby."

Baffert would prefer to run Point Determined at 1 1/16 miles to better prepare the colt for the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby. But the timing is right to run him Friday, Baffert said, and shipping and running Point Determined at a different track "will be a good experience."

"It may not be a race we have to win, but it's a race we have to run in," he said.

Jerry Hollendorfer sends out an uncoupled entry in Friday's race.

, who won his maiden here for $25,000 and comes off a starter allowance victory in the mud at Bay Meadows, should provide some pace to help set up Point Determined. Dr. Einstein's stablemate, Passive Income, has been trouble-prone but has some ability and should make Point Determined work a bit in the lane.

Maiden winner , shipping north for trainer Ron McAnally, and R Fat Man, who beat Dr. Einstein in his last start and could also be part of the pace, round out the field.