02/03/2003 1:00AM

Classic La finally makes it back

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ALBANY, Calif. - Will the third time be a charm as trainer Lonnie Arterburn tries to get Classic La back to the races?

Classic La is one of six 4-year-olds entered in Wednesday's Golden Gate Fields feature, a six-furlong $25,000 claimer.

Classic La won his debut last Feb. 9, beating Danzhound, who will be one of his rivals Wednesday. He was second in his next start in a $32,000 starter allowance race but was pulled up quickly in his third start on April 24.

"He had an injury and had to be freshened," Arterburn said.

Getting Classic La back to the races has been frustrating. He was scheduled to run in a $25,000 claimer on Dec. 22 but never got a chance when racing was canceled because of the track condition.

Classic La was entered in a Jan. 20 starter allowance race and made it to the track, but acted up in the gate, flipped, and was scratched. "It's just been bad luck," Arterburn said. "There were two races where he could go and wound up a no go."

Although each of his five rivals has a higher career Beyer than Classic La, the 72 he recorded in his first two starts came as a young 3-year-old, and it's logical to expect him to be faster at 4.

"He can train up to his best performance, and I expect him to do his best," Arterburn said.

Classic La may be in tough against the speedy Green Team, who has run well against better since his last win at this level, and Look Quick, who rallied to win his last start.

Reverse marketing

Saturday's track promotion was a giveaway of a lunar calendar in honor of the Chinese New Year.

The calendar was similar to a horoscope and offered advice. Strangely, some messages were aimed at persuading fans to stay away from the betting windows.

Those born in the Year of the Monkey, for example, were told: "gambling is not recommended." Advice for the Year of Dog included "avoid any gambling." The Year of the Dragon warned, "gambling [is] not recommended.

Sligo Bay heads Tanforan

Trainer Beau Greely said that 121-pound highweight Sligo Bay will run in Saturday's $100,000 Tanforan Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. It will be the 5-year-old Sligo Bay's first start since he won the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup on Nov. 23. Greely said he would use the race as a prep for the March 1 Santa Anita Handicap. Also slated to run are Devine Wind, Seinne, Surprise Halo, Cappucino Kid, Not for Me, and Metatron.