02/25/2008 1:00AM

Waafi preps for Snow Chief in allowance


ARCADIA, Calif. - Waafi, a 3-year-old gelding trained by Marty Jones, is not on the Triple Crown trail this year. Waafi is on the Snow Chief Stakes trail, which makes his appearance in a $57,000 allowance race at Santa Anita on Wednesday vital to his spring campaign.

Jones is hoping to use Wednesday's one-mile race as a prep to the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes at 1 1/8 miles for California-breds at Hollywood Park in late April.

"He's always acted like he wants to run a little further," Jones said.

Owned by breeders Janavar Thoroughbreds, Waafi has one victory in two starts. He scored a stylish win in a maiden race at 6 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on Dec. 21, rallying from 10th in a field of 14.

Little went right when Waafi made his stakes debut in the San Pedro Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs here on Jan. 20. After a poor start, Waafi never threatened the leaders, finishing sixth of eight.

"He kind of broke slowly," Jones said.

Jones does not expect Waafi to have the early lead Wednesday.

"He doesn't have a ton of early speed," he said. "I would imagine he would be tracking them. His style is to sit and make one run.

"Mentally, he's been really relaxed. He's not an aggressive horse."

Bayngen Bartok, the only other runner without experience around two turns, could set the pace. Trained by Richard Baltas for owner-breeder Morry Cohen, Bayngen Bartok won sprints for $25,000 and $50,000 claimers in early February at Golden Gate Fields.

King of the City has run on the lead in his last two starts. He led throughout a one-mile maiden race for statebreds on Jan. 3, but was third in a first-condition allowance race against open company at a mile on Feb. 1.

Sassou, the runner-up in that field, has drawn the rail in Wednesday's race. Trained by Jean-Pierre Dupuis, Sassou has not been worse than second in five starts, two of which were wins.

Bert's Law has kept the best company. Trained by Ed Moger for Curt and Lila Lanning, Bert's Law was second in the Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Dec. 15. He was beaten by El Gato Malo, who returned to win the Grade 3 San Rafael Stakes here Jan. 12.