09/05/2004 11:00PM

Bay Meadows: Stage Player captures California Turf Championship

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Vassar Photography
Stage Player ($4.80) with Chance Rollins riding captures the Turf Championship in 1:35.84 at Bay Meadows on Monday.

SAN MATEO, Calif. - Stage Player ($4.80) made it 2-for-2 in stakes company as he scored a 1 1/4 length victory Monday in the $100,000 at Bay Meadows.

Stage Player, claimed for $25,000 by owner Robert Bone last Nov. 15 at Hollywood Park, has won eight of 12 starts and earned $368,025 since he was claimed.

Monday's victory was accomplished in wire-to-wire style as he rated nicely while setting slow fractions under Chance Rollins. Ninebanks, who had won the past two runnings of the one-mile turf race closed for second. The winning time was 1:35.84.

"I loved it," substitute trainer John Martin said of Stage Player's opening 24.10 quarter and 47.39 half. "We were worried about Black Bart, but I didn't think he had this horse's speed. When they let him go easy, I thought he'd win."

Rollins said he watched Black Bart early and was pleased when he didn't contest the pace.

"I couldn't believe they let me go that slow. He was just looking at birds going down the backside."

Jockey Ron Warren Jr. was not disappointed in Ninebanks' effort.

"I thought he ran good," Warren said. "He was a slight victim of circumstance with the slow pace. It's tough to beat a good horse when they are allowed to get out there by themselves and go comfortably."

Sandi Gann, who rode Black Bart, said her mount "never picked up the bit."

Stage Player earned $53,900 for the victory. He has 11 wins in 29 starts with five seconds and career earnings of $441,957.