12/30/2006 12:00AM

Vicarino finally gets his chance


ALBANY, Calif. - Five 3-year-olds - three stakes winners and two making their stakes debuts - meet in Monday's $50,000-added Stinson Beach at Golden Gate Fields.

The six-furlong stakes race marks the return to action for Vicarino, who set a track record at Fresno in his last start, an 11-length victory in 1:07.34 in the Oct. 13 Harvest Festival Futurity.

A low blood count kept him out of the Hollywood Prevue in November, then the Winners' Foundation Stakes at Bay Meadows, his next intended start, was canceled in December.

A $100,000 Ocala purchase last March, Vicarino has remained sharp, earning bullets in three of his past four workouts, including a 57-second drill for five furlongs on Christmas Eve.

Trainer Greg Gilchrist said he told Russell Baze to work Vicarino fast last time. Baze will be aboard Vicarino in the Stinson Beach.

"At some point, you have to let them run," Gilchrist said. "At some point you have to let them rattle or, when the dance gets here, they won't be ready."

Vicarino, whose only loss in three starts was by a nose to Pacific Heat here last fall, appears ready.

He'll have to be.

Zoning In, who won the Malcolm Anderson in his second start and has placed in two other stakes, returns for his first start since a ninth-place finish in the Barretts Juvenile at Fairplex.

Ex Mountain Cop, who aired in four straight stakes at Portland Meadows, gets the toughest test of his career.

Double Action, who came here from Calder and won his California debut, and Candy's Bro, who has won two straight since losing his debut, will make their stakes debuts. Both are trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.

Baze rode Double Action in his lone California start and Candy's Bro in all three of his races, but he's long been committed to Vicarino, who seems to be following in the footsteps of illustrious stablemates Lost in the Fog, Frisco Star, and Smokey Stover.

Vicarino has keen speed but can be rated. He and the two Hollendorfer entrants seem to have the most speed, although both Candy's Bro and Double Action have won with stalking trips.

Double Action led through a pace duel before pulling away late in his California debut. This after breaking through the gate prior to the race. He drew the rail for Monday's race, so he may have to use his speed early, allowing his two pace rivals the chance to stalk him.

Ex Mountain Cop has shown speed at Portland Meadows but may not be able to get the lead here.