02/19/2005 12:00AM

Wet-track success makes Easy Million slight choice


SAN MATEO, Calif. - A strong case can be made for three of the six hard-hitting veterans who meet in Monday's holiday feature at Bay Meadows, a $50,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles.

Juniper Kris looks like the one to beat based on his last start, when he recorded a career-best 93 Beyer Speed Figure in a $40,000 turf claimer at Santa Anita. Sent north by trainer Richard Mandella, Juniper Kris has won two straight, but he went 0 for 4 here at this level last year, when he ran into some very tough horses, including stakes winners Yougottawanna and Adreamisborn.

Monday's field figures to be tough as well, and Juniper Kris may not even be favored.

That honor may go to Easy Million, who also has two straight wins, at $32,000 and $40,000. Easy Million has won two straight on wet tracks and has never finished off the board on a wet surface, which bodes well for him since Monday's track figures to be wet. His stalking style should have him in good position throughout the race, and he seems to be maintaining his sharpness, with two good works since his last start.

Desert Boom won three straight, including a race at this level at Golden Gate Fields on Jan. 7, before getting a shot in the Grade 3 Seabiscuit Handicap. He stalked but had little left in the stretch in the Seabiscuit, but figures to have an easier time today. Desert Boom has good speed, but in his last win, he was able to rally from well off the pace. That move convinced trainer Art Sherman to give Desert Boom a shot at stakes competition and makes him attractive here because of his newfound versatility.

Rounding out the field are Slew'em and Run, off since a Nov. 14 allowance win at Bay Meadows; Symphony Sid, who won an allowance two starts back on Jan. 1; and Congressionalhonor, who won the Bay Meadows Derby on the turf here last fall.

* The sprint division has been one of northern California's strongest, but many of its top runners are not at full strength. Multiple stakes winner El Dorado Shooter has just begun galloping at trainer Cliff DeLima's ranch, My Captain has returned to the sidelines, and Trapper is not ready to race yet as he continues his comeback.

* The scheduled $55,000-added President's Day Sprint was canceled when only two runners entered. Six of the 11 nominees were based in Southern California.