11/08/2007 1:00AM

William T to take a cut against big boys

EmailALBANY, Calif. - After trainer Dennis Patterson saw what he'd signed William T up for in Saturday's $75,000 Tanforan Handicap at Golden Gate Fields, he had only one thought.

"I said to myself I should go back and take Condition Book 101 again," he said.

If the decision to run the 4-year-old colt with only one win against a couple of Grade 1-type opponents in a stakes was madness, there was also method in it.

The Tanforan is a 1 3/8-mile turf race. William T comes off two thirds and an eighth in one-mile allowance races on the Bay Meadows turf, and the longest he has run is 1 1/16 miles. But Patterson thinks William T might improve at the longer distance.

"The way he's always trained, distance won't be any problem for him," he said. "And we'll definitely learn something about him.

"I know he'll be going up against major-league pitching, but, at the same time, he's doing good, training good. . . . You can't hit a home run if you don't go up to bat."

Bobby Frankel sends up a pair of Grade 1 runners, Porfido and Chattahoochee War.

Porfido ran in four straight Grade 1s earlier this year, the Charlie Whittingham and Clement Hirsch on turf and the Hollywood Gold Cup and Pacific Classic. He ran fourth in the Hollywood Gold Cup and the Clement Hirsch, both at 1 1/4 miles, and was fifth in the Grade 3 Carlton Burke at 1 1/2 miles in his last start, on Oct. 28.

Chattahoochee War, sixth in the Grade 3 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sept. 22 in his second start following a year's layoff, twice finished directly behind this year's Breeders' Cup Turf winner, English Channel, while placing in 1 1/4-mile turf races, including the Secretariat at Arlington in 2005.

They bring class to the race.

Zappa, a one-time claimer here, and Newton John, a fresh face from Canada, bring the current form.

Zappa has won two straight in Southern California, including a 1 3/8-mile race at Fairplex two back.

Newton John just ran third Oct. 14 in the Grade 3 Premiers Handicap at this distance at Hastings. He has blossomed since stretching out and has won at distances ranging from 6 1/2 furlongs to 1 3/8 miles this year.

Black Spot and Tissy Fit round out the field.