11/03/2005 1:00AM

Aizarunner's time may have arrived


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Lonnie Arterburn understands the importance of timing in racing.

He hopes the time is right Saturday for Aizarunner, who makes his stakes debut in the Grade 3, $100,000 Silky Sullivan Stakes on the turf at Golden Gate Fields.

Arterburn was the breeder, owner, and trainer of Lava Man but lost him to a claim before he won the Grade 2 Californian and Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup this year. He purchased Rings a Chime and she won the Grade 1 Ashland and finished second in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks in 2000 for him.

Arterburn claimed Aizarunner for $20,000 on May 27 and has seen him win twice and run second twice in four starts. A $22,000 yearling purchase, Aizarunner has three wins and a second in four turf starts.

In the Silky Sullivan, . Also entered are Eager Pharisien, who has won two straight on the turf, and Sharp Writer and Funny Flyer, both stakes-placed on the dirt.

Arterburn's timing has been right thus far with Aizarunner.

"I watched him win at Bay Meadows for $25,000," he said. "I had watched him in the paddock, and he was beautiful. I was cussing myself out for not hanging a claim. I watched him pull up after the race, and he looked fine."

Three weeks later, Arterburn dropped in a slip when Aizarunner ran for a $20,000 tag.

Because Aizarunner had won his lone turf start, Arterburn ran him in a $40,000 optional claimer on the Golden Gate turf in his first start for Arterburn, and Arterburn was rewarded with a victory. Because he had run for a tag in that race, Aizarunner was eligible to come back in the same spot running under the allowance condition.

After a second on the dirt at Solano, he won on the turf at the Bay Meadows Fair, then ran second against older on the turf at Bay Meadows in his last start.

"He might have bit off more than he could chew against older, but he has improved and, with the possible exception of [Eastern Sand], he seems as good as anyone here," Arterburn said.

Aizarunner should get a great stalking trip with Mr. Splash part of the pace picture and Eastern Sand sitting farther behind him.