10/29/2003 1:00AM

Urban King is overdue for a peak effort


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Highweight and likely favorite Urban King is set for Saturday's Grade 3 Bay Meadows Derby, according to Humberto Ascanio, top assistant to Urban King's trainer, Bobby Frankel.

An Irish-bred colt, Urban King has run five times since arriving in the United States and has two seconds and three thirds, all in stakes.

"One of these days, he's going to run a big one," Ascanio said from the Frankel barn at Hollywood Park. "I think the course up there will help him when he makes his late run."

Frankel's horses endured a disappointing Breeders' Cup Day, going 0 for 8.

"We're okay now," Ascanio said. "We were disappointed afterward. It was like a hangover. You know how you feel the next day."

The hangover didn't last long. A Frankel-trained first-timer, Theater R.N., won his maiden at 1 1/8 miles on the turf in Sunday's first race at Santa Anita.

Ascanio is confident the late-running Urban King, who will be ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., will also run well in Saturday's $100,000 Derby, at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Valdivia was aboard for Urban King's last start, a third-place finish Oct. 4 in the Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita.

"He ran good in the Oak Tree Derby," Ascanio said. "He only ran about an eighth of a mile that day. He wasn't taking hold of the bit. Jose knows the horse now. It will be different."

Because he comes from so far off the pace, Urban King usually has a lot to do late.

"His style is to make a late run," Ascanio said. "We don't want to put blinkers on, because it might make him rank early and then he'd get nothing. If the horse were waiting at the end, we might try them, but he finishes well."

More horses for switch to daytime

After only 45 horses ran the previous two Friday nights, 65 were entered for this Friday's afternoon card.

A pair of $25,000 claimers tops the program, with six older fillies and mares going one mile in the first race and seven 2-year-old fillies going six furlongs in the third.

Clickety Cat, who won her last start for the $25,000 tag, will take the blinkers off and shift from the turf to the main track. She is the one to beat from off the pace in the first race.

Indefensible, who just won her maiden over the track, and Emerald Downs import Genoa Cat, who has two wins and two seconds for the $25,000 tag, are the ones to beat in the 2-year-old sprint.

Tough loss for Lacie Girl

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is weighing his options with Lacie Girl, who lost a photo finish in the $100,000 Very Subtle on the Breeders' Cup undercard last Saturday.

Lacie Girl, northern California's top female sprinter, grabbed the lead in the six-furlong race just before the wire only to lose by a nose to Stellar, who was rallying outside her. Lacie Girl has seven victories and three seconds at six furlongs, all three losses coming by a nose.

Hollendorfer said, "The post beat us" of Lacie Girl's rail draw. Regular rider Russell Baze said after the race he felt it was the 4-year-old Lacie Girl's best effort because she continued running despite getting dirt in her face, something she has disliked in the past.