09/12/2007 11:00PM

Whatever Whenever the chief speed

EmailSAN MATEO, Calif. - Six 2-year-olds still with a lot to learn about themselves will square off in Saturday's $60,000-added Bay Meadows Juvenile.

The six-furlong sprint includes two stakes winners and another stakes-placed runner.

Whatever Whenever, winner of the Aug. 5 Cavonnier at Santa Rosa, seems the quickest, based on his sizzling fractions in that race. He was also third in the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile before that.

He dueled for the lead through the opening half-mile of the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity before fading to last 10 days ago and makes a fairly quick turnaround here. While he may be the quickest, he is likely to face more pace pressure than he did in the Cavonnier.

Joe's Cannon is undefeated in three starts and comes off a win in the Aug. 4 Idaho Cup Juvenile at Boise. He may be taking a big step up in terms of quality of competition, though.

"They burned up all his conditions in Idaho, so this is our only option," said trainer Keith Bennett. "He came to me in really great shape. Basically, this is just another steppingstone to see what level he needs to run at."

Bennett has good success with newcomers, winning with 30 percent of them, and has given the gelding two works to get him used to the Bay Meadows surface after running on the dirt track at Boise.

Joe's Cannon has led at the first call in all three starts but may not be as quick as some of his rivals here.

"One of the concerns is what did he beat at Boise," Bennett said. "I don't think he needs the lead, since he was headed in his first race but came back to win, and we won't rush him early."

Sierra Sunset, whose stablemate Orientate Me is also entered, ran second to Whatever Whenever in the Cavonnier and then lost to undefeated Thundering Justice in his last start here, on Aug. 24.

Thundering Justice was claimed for $50,000 from his July 27 debut at Del Mar before winning the Aug.o24 $40,000 optional claimer.

"We claimed him strictly off his works," Morey said. "I was surprised there wasn't a shake. He didn't run fast in his debut, but the track down there played very slow early. We weren't sure what we had, but his works after we got him showed he had talent.

"We got a good draw, and he's the one in the field that has handled pace pressure and still finished."

Fort Funston is also undefeated, winning his debut going wire to wire for trainer Greg Gilchrist, who has given him a pair of works since that debut win.