09/01/2002 11:00PM

Claim is a classic


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Veteran trainer R.L. Martin celebrated the Fourth of July this year by taking a gamble. He claimed 3-year-old Sixty Two Lincoln for $8,000 out of a maiden race at the Alameda County Fair in his hometown of Pleasanton.

The gamble paid immediate dividends when Sixty Two Lincoln won his maiden race in his first start for Martin, beating older horses for a $12,500 claiming price and going a mile for the first time.

Sixty Two Lincoln could put Martin and co-owner Allen Aquilino in the black on Wednesday when he runs in the Bay Meadows feature, a $25,000 claimer for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the Longden Turf Course.

"I just thought he was bred to run on and that he was bred for grass top and bottom," Martin said. "Eight thousand is not a lot of money."

Sixty Two Lincoln finished fourth but was moved up to third on a disqualification the day Martin claimed him. That was his seventh start, from which he had a pair of second-place finishes and a pair of thirds.

Martin said he has done nothing special with Sixty Two Lincoln, a gelded son of Flying Continental, other than run him two turns for the first time at Santa Rosa on July 21.

"He definitely handled the stretchout," Martin said.

Sixty Two Lincoln dueled for the lead for the first half-mile and then began to pull away, winning by six in an impressive performance. The third-place finisher was 12 lengths behind him.

Wednesday will be Sixty Two Lincoln's first start on turf and the highest claiming price has ever run for.

Sixty Two Lincoln's dam, She's Got Glass, is by Pass the Glass, who, Martin said "was a beautiful turf horse. We're just speculating he'll like the turf."

Although there are some $12,500 claimers and starter allowance races written for the turf, Martin said he believes Wednesday's race is a good spot for Sixty Two Lincoln to make his turf debut against five rivals.

Still, he conceded, "It looks like a good field, a little harder than what he's faced."

But coming off a victory, Sixty Two Lincoln seems to be an improved horse. He has had three works since the race, a slow maintenance drill, a little faster five-furlong work, and a bullet six-furlong work on Aug. 29.

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