10/30/2001 12:00AM

Trailthefox ready to test older sprinters

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Just when the California Cup Sprint appeared tailor-made for Ceeband, graded stakes winner Trailthefox jumped in and will try to become the fifth 3-year-old to win the $150,000, six-furlong race Saturday at Santa Anita. Trailthefox has not raced since August, but trainer Patrick Biancone said the layoff was by design.

"We've been pointing for this race," Biancone said. "He's training very well, I think he's back to what he was. He's a very nice horse, he seems to be the best 3-year-old Cal-bred, and now we are going against older horses."

Trailthefox, a four-time winner who has earned $362,352 from 14 starts, must improve to win. Nine of the last 10 Sprints were won with a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 or higher. Trailthefox has never achieved a triple-digit Beyer. Ceeband and Men's Exclusive will start as 121-pound co-highweights, and will face Stormy Jack, 119; The Morris Monroe, 118; Trailthefox, 117; Always Game, 116; and Gibson County, 116.

Where should Lily's Lad run?

Few horses will enter the Cal Cup working any better than 4-year-old gelding Lily's Lad. His fast works are significant if only because they contrast the ordinary works he was producing in late summer.

Trainer John Shirreffs said Lily's Lad went through a phase where "something was bugging him. He wasn't switching leads" in his workouts. Lily's Lady, who has won 4 of 10, toiled through the quandary, and hits the Cal Cup at the top of his game. But which race?

Shirreffs considered both the $250,000 Classic and $175,000 Mile for Lily's Lad, and Tuesday was leaning toward the Mile. Though early in the week the Mile had seven probables, compared to six for the Classic, the Mile is an easier spot.

Native Desert, the 123-pound highweight, is 8 years old and unraced in two months. Spinelessjellyfish is the 122-pound second highweight. Quality drops afterward with Continental Red, 118; Lily's Lad, 117; Golden General, 116; Flying Rudolph, 115; and Ringaskiddy, 115.

Meanwhile, the Classic field includes three graded stakes winners: Irisheyesareflying, 122; Grey Memo and Romanceishope, 118; and graded stakes runner-up Figlio Mio, 119. Others expected to start include Ben Saw San, 115, and Waingarth, 114.

'Pirate' primed for best effort

California Cup veteran Feverish will start as the 120-pound highweight in the 1 1/16-mile Cal Cup Matron, but Jeweled Pirate may be sitting on an upset in the $150,000 race. Jeweled Pirate had been off eight months when she returned with a good fourth-place finish Oct. 4 in a three-other-than allowance. Trainer Ray Bell worked the filly a half-mile Tuesday, and expects her to improve second start back.

"I'm sure she will, because she had a good foundation in her before she ran," Bell said. "It's not like I rushed her into the race. The race should move her up the three or four lengths she needs." Jeweled Pirate has won 4 of 10, and will face Feverish, who won the Matron in 1999 and finished second last year.

The expected lineup, with weights: Feverish, 120; Top of Our Game, 119; Cee Dreams, 118; Favorite Funtime, 118; Cee's Elegance, 117; Jeweled Pirate, 116; Covincing, 114; and Follow My Heineken, 114.

* The $125,000 Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies is headed by Fragrant Cloud. Other expected starters include Mama Mama, Frankie Eyelashes, Moossa's Girl, and Calista's Star. Stakes winners Yougottawann and Rainman's Request are the leading contenders for the $125,000 Cup Cup Juvenile. Others expected to run are Green Team, Chingasos, Pick of the Valley, Debonair Joe, Sharpster, and Lusty Latin.