03/30/2007 12:00AM

Beautiful Dixie faces two from Hollendorfer

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Will a return to her favorite surface guide Beautiful Dixie back to the winner's circle at Bay Meadows on Sunday?

The 4-year-old Dixie Dot Com filly meets seven rivals, including an entry of Marathon Mom and Ivy League Genius, in Sunday's $62,500 optional claiming feature at 1 1/16 miles over the turf.

Beautiful Dixie's last win was over the grass course here on Dec. 6. Prior to that she ran third in the Palo Alto Handicap on the turf behind Bai and Bai. The filly is owned by her breeder, Ronelle Heller.

"Her turf [Tomlinson] numbers weren't that bad, and one or two Dixie Dot Coms had run on the turf and run pretty well," trainer John Anderson said. "I talked with Ronelle, and she said to try it. It worked."

Beautiful Dixie has two wins, a second, and two thirds in eight turf starts.

Horses in Northern California rarely get to work on turf, and there is no turf course in Pleasanton where Anderson stables. He wasn't particularly concerned about running the filly on turf the first time without working her on it.

"If they're going to handle it, they'll handle it," he said. "You can work on a surface, but the only way you really find out is when they actually run on it. Of course, you like to have hints that they can handle it."

Anderson nominated Beautiful Dixie to last week's Hillsborough Handicap but didn't want to run against Somethinaboutlaura. He gambled that Sunday's race would go and won the gamble, but noted wryly, "Be careful what you wish for."

Both members of a Jerry Hollendorfer-trained entry, Marathon Mom and Ivy League Genius, come into the race off a victory, although neither has won on the turf.

Abbey Cat won a minor turf stakes in Great Britain last year and is looking for her first U.S. victory. Wellingtons Arch, a winner last year on the turf, lost to Beautiful Dixie in her last start when coming off an eight-month layoff.

Three riders recovering

Exercise rider Bernie Santos suffered a concussion and was hospitalized overnight at Stanford Hospital after a horse he was working at Bay Meadows on Thursday broke down.

Jockey Kyle Kaenel, injured in a Wednesday spill, showed no broken bones but suffered a lacerated left earlobe that was torn in three places and significant bruising to his lower back and left thigh.

Luis Martinez, whose mount tripped over Kaenel's fallen mount, was found to have two fractured ribs on the right side after precautionary X-rays were taken.