01/09/2006 1:00AM

Cause to Believe, Wilmore show their stuff

Vassar Photography
Heavenly Humor's race days may be over as her connections weigh options.

SAN MATEO, Calif. - Two of northern California's talented 3-year-olds turned in strong efforts Sunday.

Cause to Believe, who had won three straight stakes in northern California, unleashed a strong kick to finish second in the San Miguel at Santa Anita.

At Bay Meadows, Wilmore finally broke well, sat closer to the pace, and closed very well to defeat Firebaugh, another colt with good potential, for a maiden victory at six furlongs.

Trainer Bill Morey Jr. thought Wilmore might have the most talent of any of his young horses late last year, but he broke poorly in his first two starts, leaving himself with too much to do late.

Rider Dennis Carr said the impressive performance was better than it may have looked because he had trouble with the reins around the turn. Wilmore drifted out for a few strides but straightened out when Carr regained control of the reins, and Carr said he was very impressed with the way he finished.

Morey also trains Bold Chieftain, who looked very good winning around two turns the previous weekend. Wilmore looks as if he will improve when stretched out as well.

Grass still soggy

It was no surprise when Sunday's scheduled turf races at Bay Meadows were switched to the main track.

The course was still very soggy and probably too soft in several spots for safe racing.

The Sunday races were the first scheduled turf races of the brief meeting. Earlier stakes races originally written for the turf were offered on the main track.

The Bay Meadows turf course superintendent, Bernie Eastridge, said he hoped that Wednesday's scheduled turf races can be run on the grass, but he was keeping an eye on the weather. Rain was predicted for Tuesday.

Eastridge was able to mow the course on Saturday and planned to mow it again Monday.

"That will help us get more air to it and help it dry out," he said.

The cold, rainy weather since the week before Christmas has not allowed the course to dry out. And when the sun shines, the winds have been calm. Eastridge said any wind would help dry the course out.

"The weather has been cool, and there's no wind," he said. "It really cools off after 3 p.m."

Wednesday's feature, a one-mile race for maiden fillies and mares, is scheduled for the turf.

Kaydara, who lost by a neck as the 6-5 favorite on Dec. 1 at Hollywood Park, appears the one to beat. She has three third-place finishes in five turf starts.

Another Southern California import, Bardy Woman, third at 1-2 in a $32,000 maiden claimer on a yielding turf at Golden Gate Fields in her last start, also figures to be tough.

Eastridge, who supervised the new Santa Rosa course last year, has been spending much of his time at Hollywood Park to make sure that turf course will be ready for the spring meet. A course that was installed before the Bay Meadows Land Co. purchased Hollywood Park last fall failed to take root, causing the cancellation of turf racing during Hollywood Park's fall meeting.

Heavenly Humor on hold

Following Heavenly Humor's victory in Saturday's Soviet Problem, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said it might be her final race.

"This is likely the last go-round for her," he said, but Sunday he said that he and co-owner Jerry Jamgotchian are thinking about not sending her to the breeding shed quite yet.

Her victory was a very game one.

Winning jockey Russell Baze said Heavenly Humor wasn't handling the track on the turn. She was forced wide as Yerevan Star drifted out, leaving a wide path along the inside for Fire Bolt, who finished second.

"She's all heart," said Baze. "There's no give-up in her."

Her victory was her seventh in 15 starts, with six of the wins coming at Bay Meadows. A winner of five stakes, the 5-year-old mare has earned $246,595.

San Carlos tops Saturday card

Male sprinters get the spotlight in Saturday's $60,000-added San Carlos Handicap.

Hollendorfer, who has won seven straight stakes in northern California, has nominated four runners - highweight Trickey Trevor (124 pounds), Halo Cat (121), Jeffries Bay (115), and Symphony Sid (114). Ten were nominated for the race, including Carthage, who scored an impressive victory in a $62,500 optional claimer on opening day.

Brian Koriner has nominated two stakes winners, Court's in Session and Onebadshark. Thirsty Guys, who won the Earlene McCabe Derby here in September, is also nominated.

Stewards issue fines, suspensions

Jockey David Lopez was given a three-day suspension (Jan. 14-16) for causing interference aboard Bear Cub, who was disqualified from second to third in Friday's eighth race. Jockey Carlos Silva was fined $100 for "failure to fulfill his riding engagement" on Jan. 1.

Koriner was fined $500 after an unapproved oral paste was administered to Stormin' Lyon, necessitating a late scratch last Oct. 1. Caryn Keller was fined $300 when Fargo Calling tested positive for Flunixin in excess of the permitted level in a Nov. 13 race.