01/25/2008 12:00AM

Yankee Bravo bids to stay unbeaten

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ALBANY, Calif. - Twelve 3-year-olds face the most significant test of their racing careers Sunday at Golden Gate Fields in the $150,000 Golden Gate Derby.

The 1 1/16-mile race could be a springboard to the Derby trail or serve as a sign that some owners and trainers should consider easier alternatives.

Nine of the 12 entrants are eligible for a first-level allowance race.

Yankee Bravo brings the most interesting credentials into the race, a maiden win in Great Britain in September and a victory in the Dec. 29 Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita in his second start. Both races were on the turf.

Cafe Tortoni has three career victories and placed in the WTBA Lads at Emerald Downs and the Real Quiet at Hollywood Park. He comes into the Derby off a nose allowance victory.

Moonlit Master will race as an entry with Many Rivers. Many Rivers is one of only two runners in the race with an allowance victory. He will be trying two turns for the first time. Many Rivers is a half-brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Harlan's Holiday.

Trainer Patrick Gallagher sends three runners north, with Robscarvic and Spinning Sound, both maiden winners in Great Britain, joining Yankee Bravo in the field.

"All are ready to run and are doing well," Gallagher said from his barn at Hollywood Park. "We looked at this race and some races down here.

"This is the time of year when it's exciting to see if horses develop, to see if they belong here."

The undefeated Yankee Bravo, who comes from well off the pace, seems the best of Gallagher's troika. Alex Solis will be in to ride.

"Solis worked him and liked him a lot," Gallagher said. "He's run well on the grass but has not run on a synthetic surface. You never know till you try."

Gallagher is looking for both Spinning Sound and Robscarvic to improve in this race. Spinning Sound will be adding blinkers, and Gallagher said the added distance of this race should suit Robscarvic.

Trainer Terry Knight sends out Capture the Call, a runner-up sprinting in his debut before winning at a mile in his second start.

"He has enough positives to look at running here," said Knight, probably echoing the sentiments of most trainers.

Capture the Call worked well heading into his debut but ran second as the favorite.

"I wasn't disappointed because I always felt he would be better around two turns," Knight said. "We're excited about his potential, but this is about who continues to progress and maybe who gets lucky."