09/14/2004 11:00PM

Allowance may drain field in San Mateo

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - With only seven nominees, the status of Saturday's $55,000-added San Mateo Stakes at Bay Meadows is up in the air.

It seems likely that at least five 2-year-olds will enter, the number needed to make the race go, but the fact only seven were nominated to the six-furlong stakes speaks to the sparsity of young horses in northern California.

"I really don't want to run," said Greg Gilchrist, who trains Danny Dingle. "I would prefer to run in an allowance race."

Danny Dingle would be no worse than the second choice in the field behind Wind Water.

Danny Dingle was impressive in his debut at Santa Rosa, rallying from off the pace to win more easily than the charts may indicate despite having a rough trip to midstretch.

There is a first-level allowance race in the condition book for the following week that Gilchrist and trainer Dean Pederson, who nominated undefeated Longer Walk, are both eyeing.

"No way both of those races are going to fill," Gilchrist said.

Said Pederson: "If the stakes race does fill and you ask me if the other will fill, I'd probably say no."

Longer Walk has won twice, graduating in a $32,000 maiden claimer in his debut before winning a $32,000 starter allowance. Because Longer Walk is small - "800 pounds soaking wet," according to Pederson - and just raced on Sept. 5, Pederson may gamble that the allowance race will fill.

Marine drops into feature

Seven signed up for Friday's feature, a $25,000 claimer at one mile on the turf. Marine holds the class edge, while Fly and Eagle has the best recent form with a pair of first-place finishes in his past three starts over the turf here.

Marine hasn't won in the past two years, but he's dropping Friday, and his closing kick could be strong enough to win this.

Fly and Eagle hasn't run since Sept. 10. He's 2 for 40 in his career, but was first under the wire two back.