08/27/2006 11:00PM

Confusion at fair: Wrong horse is scratched, field drops to three


ALBANY, Calif. - Golden Gate Fields stewards are trying to sort out what happened Wednesday in the final race on closing day at the Bay Meadows Fair, when a horse was incorrectly scratched. After the correct horse was scratched, only three horses were left in the field.

Darrel McHargue, a steward at both Golden Gate and Bay Meadows, said that Bay Meadows track veterinarian Dr. Don Davies called the stewards at Bay Meadows Fair prior to the final race and said that the No. 4 horse, Traditional Flyer, was being scratched.

"He was watching the horses and called in," McHargue said. "He said it was the No. 4 horse and said its name. We confirmed the number and the name."

Once the call and confirmation were made, the stewards immediately notified the mutuel department and had track announcer Michael Wrona announce the scratch.

"We have to get the information out as soon as possible so that people can get a refund," McHargue said.

When stewards saw that the No. 4 horse was still in the post parade, they contacted Davies again.

"We called the vet back and asked why the 4 was still out there, and he said it was supposed to be the 3 [Game of the Year] that was scratched," McHargue said. "The 3 at that point was scratched."

But what about Traditional Flyer?

The stewards - McHargue, John Herboveaux, and Pam Berg - discussed the possibility of allowing Traditional Flyer to run for purse money only, which is allowed in New York. But there is no California rule that would allow for such a situation, McHargue said.

As of Monday, no formal complaint had been filed about the incident by Traditional Flyer's owner, Myron Motley, or trainer, Steve Miyadi. McHargue said there would be a full investigation into the matter.

"There was an error made," McHargue said. "It never should have happened. That's why we say both the number and the name as a safeguard."

Big Sunday at Golden Gate

A guaranteed $50,000 pick four, a "dollar day" promotion, and a number of free passes handed out on the University of California campus combined to give Golden Gate Fields a big turnout on the first Sunday of its new fall meet.

Attendance was 6,204, rivaled this year only by the 6,712 patrons the track drew on Kentucky Derby Day.

This is the first year that Golden Gate Fields has raced at this time, and the track wanted to bring attention to the switch from the traditional early fall dates at Bay Meadows.

It instituted a new $50,000 guarantee on its early Sunday pick four, a move that track officials hope will get out-of-state bettors to look at Golden Gate Fields. Friday's opening-day pick four handled $29,169. On Saturday, the pool was $35,544. On Sunday, the pool was $82,517.

The dollar day, which offered $1 admission, parking, programs, beers, sodas, and food, was the first of two scheduled for the fall meet. The second will be Oct. 7.

The final piece of the marketing plan was to have track representatives hand out free passes as students registered for classes at Cal, located less than five miles from the track.

Golden Gate general manager Robert Hartman, who came to the track from the Cal athletic department, said the track was going to begin stronger promotions to attract students to the races in hopes of building a younger fan base.

Two stakes cap six-day week

A six-day week that includes a pair of stakes kicks off Wednesday.

On Saturday, the feature is the $50,000-added China Basin, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up. On Labor Day, the Grade 3, $150,000 Berkeley Handicap, the meet's only graded race, will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

Both races closed with 14 nominations, with Distorted, Me My Mine, and Sharp Writer nominated to each.

Wednesday's feature is a $40,000 claimer at 1 1/16 miles that attracted five horses, including Boss Ego, who can surpass the $500,000 mark in earnings with a victory.

Gilchrist picks his spots

Trainer Greg Gilchrist is sending 3-year-old stars Victorina and Smokey Stover to Del Mar. Victorina will run in Friday's $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes at a mile, while Smokey Stover will compete in an allowance race.

Gilchrist would like to run his 2-year-old sensation Vicarino in the Sept. 9 Alameda Stakes here, but will likely enter him in an allowance race listed to run Monday because there is no guarantee the stakes race will fill.

* Yougottawanna and Stellar Magic both came out of their comebacks in a six-furlong allowance race Sunday in good shape. Stone Rain won the race easily, with Yougottawanna running third and Stellar Magic finishing last after breaking slowly and making a move on the turn before giving way.

* Apprentice Chris Landeros is heading back home to Arizona for the Turf Paradise meet. Agent Dennis Patterson will continue to book mounts for him there.