05/31/2004 11:00PM

For two trainers, the right move


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainers Donna Elordi and Jerry Hollendorfer both picked the right spot for their horses at Bay Meadows last weekend.

Elordi nominated stakes-winning Vallarta to Monday's Grade 3 Seabiscuit Breeders' Cup on the main track, but she and owner Paul Girdner opted instead to run in an $80,000 claimer on the turf Sunday. The decision resulted in a nose victory.

Hollendorfer, who had reclaimed Yougottawanna for $80,000 after losing him for $50,000, stepped up the 5-year-old gelding into stakes company and won the Seabiscuit by three-quarters of a length.

Vallarta stalked Boss Ego, took over into the lane, and held off a resurgent Boss Ego and Adreamisborn.

"He'd been off, and the key was he'd had only one out," Girdner said, explaining the decision to run Vallarta in the $80,000 claimer rather than the stakes.

Surface was another key.

"He's definitely better on turf," said Girdner, who would like to run Vallarta in the Foster City Handicap on the turf on June 20.

It was probably just as well Vallarta didn't run in the Seabiscuit. Yougottawanna, who made headlines as a 2-year-old when he upset the supposedly invincible Officer and won the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby the next year, would have been tough to beat.

After winning the El Camino, Yougottawanna lost 11 straight over the next year before scoring an eight-length victory in a Feb. 28 race in which he was claimed from Hollendorfer for $50,000.

Hollendorfer had dropped Yougottawanna as low as $40,000, and he ran him three straight times for $50,000 before losing him to trainer John Martin.

Martin ran Yougottawanna in the Grade 3 Berkeley Breeders' Cup Handicap in his first start for him, and the horse was second to Snorter, who ran third in the Seabiscuit.

Martin was concerned Hollendorfer might reclaim Yougottawanna when he was entered for $80,000, and Hollendorfer did. But Martin said it was a win-win situation for him and his partners, who showed a nice profit after the claim.

Strong sprint feature

There are no weekend stakes scheduled, but Thursday's feature is stakes-quality.

Eight sprinters, including the stakes winners Con Quixote and Razen Hazen, meet in a six-furlong, $50,000 optional claimer for 3-year-olds and up.

Two of the runners are 3-year-olds, Razen Hazen and Double Belvedere, who is making his first start since running second in the Willard Proctor Memorial one year ago.

Neither has met older before, and, despite their quality, both appear to be in very tough.

Con Quixote and Spy Me Not, the probable favorites, finished only a neck apart in their last start at this level. Each has as many victories - eight - as the combined number of starts for the two 3-year-olds.

Spy Me Not showed more early foot last time and foiled Con Quixote's bid for a third straight win. Previously, he had been second to Con Quixote.

While Spy Me Not and Con Quixote both have a combination of speed and staying power, stalkers Attack Force and Operatic are not without chance.

Attack Force, who has hit the board in 13 of 15 starts, is coming off a first-level allowance victory. Operatic was an even fourth behind Spy Me Not and Con Quixote in his first start in nearly eight months.

The presence of the speedy Twentythreejaybird means that Con Quixote can return to his preferred stalker's role early.

* Individuals and teams can still sign up for Monday's 23rd annual bowling tournament to benefit the ALS Research Foundation and Connie O'Donnell. The tournament will be held at Granada Bowl in Livermore beginning at 12:30 p.m. Entry fee is $30 per person, including dinner and bowling shoes.

* Jockey David Lopez, who suffered a concussion in an April 29 spill, won a race on each of his first two days back. He won Sunday with Caller Pete and Monday with Rainman's Request.

* Monday's Memorial Day attendance was 11,004, the largest since 13,891 were at the track Oct. 3, 1993.