12/28/2009 1:00AM

Antares World eyes rebound in Oaks


Antares World, who lost the one-mile Corte Madera by a head, tops the list of 12 nominees to the $75,000 California Oaks, which is scheduled to be run Friday, New Year's Day, at Golden Gate Fields.

In the Dec. 5 Corte Madera, Antares World was beaten by Salty Fries, who ran fourth as the second choice in Sunday's $100,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes at Santa Anita. She previously beat Salty Fries in an allowance race in her first try around two turns.

Antares World will run Friday and appears the likely favorite in what will be Golden Gate Fields' first stakes race of the new meet after last Saturday's opening-day Silveyville was canceled when only one runner entered. Her two-turn form makes her a standout in the field.

Trainer Steve Specht also has nominated Antares World's stablemate Veillit, who also was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams. Entrymates can run as separate betting interests in stakes.

Two undefeated runners - Seeking the Queen and Young Paris, both 3 for 3 - have been nominated. Friday's 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies would be the first around two turns for each. Seeking the Queen has accomplished the most of the two, with a maiden victory and two allowance scores. Young Paris, coming off an allowance victory, began in maiden claimers.

Trainer Lloyd Mason will send out Seeking the Queen, who has looked good and shown improvement in each start. She beat Antares World in her debut.

Mason says her sire, Sought After, has been successful with other runners stretching out.

The most accomplished of the other nominees is the Billy Morey-trained Jules J, who has three wins and a second in seven starts but has been unplaced in three stakes tries.

Forbidden Paradise has similar credentials, with a win and a second as well as going unplaced in two graded stakes in her four starts. City to City has two wins and ran fifth in the Corte Madera in her stakes debut.

Harissa, Jet Blue Girl, No More Travellin', and maidens Fashion Trend and Giveme Onereason also are nominated.The New Year's Day card has a special 12:15 p.m. post and will be a dollar day, with $1 parking, admission, programs, beer, soda, and hot dogs.

Deadline looms for bids on track

While fans concentrate on racing and deciphering past performances, Golden Gate Fields and executives of its parent Magna Entertainment Corp. are eyeing Feb. 25.

That's the day an auction is scheduled for Golden Gate Fields and Magna's crown jewels of Santa Anita and Gulfstream. Bids on the tracks are due Feb. 10.

Golden Gate general manager Robert Hartman said the process at other Magna tracks has been slow and that he would not be surprised if the auction is delayed. The auction proceedings started in 2008.

Hartman reiterated that he is trying to make the track as profitable as possible not only to attract the best bids but also to prove the value of maintaining the property as a racing venue.

Hartman said the track is continuing its aggressive marketing programs and advertising buys in newspapers, radio, and television in an attempt to reach new fans.

Retirement facilities receive funds

The Glen Ellen Vocational Academy, Northern California's nonprofit Thoroughbred retirement facility, was one of 12 retirement venues in the state to share in $264,000 in funds generated from the racing industry to aid retired and injured runners.

The funding comes from a .03 percent deduction from purses. Nearly 80 percent of California Thoroughbred owners participate in the program. The program aided eight retirement facilities with $150,450 last year.