12/26/2006 1:00AM

Early draw mostly a good thing


ALBANY, Calif. - Thursday's Golden Gate Fields card was drawn 10 days earlier, a rarity that some trainers find beneficial.

"It makes it very easy," said Steve Sherman, who is in charge of his father Art's northern California string.

"I love when we enter four or five days out, like Saturday for Thursday [racing], or Sunday for Friday. You can plan your work schedule, your medication schedule."

The draw 10 days ago, on the closing day of Bay Meadows, allowed horsemen as well as the racing office staff a rare break during the year-round racing schedule.

"I understand why they did it," said Sherman. "Anybody who has horses knows that sometimes a little freshening can be important."

"It makes training a lot easier. You know how far to work. If you have to get a gate work, it gives you plenty of options."

Trainer Bill McLean said there are advantages and disadvantages to drawing races so far in advance.

"It has its good points and bad points," he said. "It helps because you can prepare your horse a little better, but there could be a chance for more scratches."

The one-week Christmas break and the early draw gave trainers the opportunity to schedule works and gallops for Thursday's runners around the weather conditions.

Sherman has two horses entered in Thursday's feature, a $25,000 optional claimer at six furlongs, and two more in a $32,000 maiden claimer for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

During the break, Sherman worked both his 2-year-old fillies entered in the maiden claiming race. Celluloid Star had a bullet five-furlong move on Friday, and Jovani worked six furlongs on Dec. 19.

The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained entry of Hot Tizzy and Cinema Star is likely to be favored in the optional claimer, particularly if the track comes up wet. Rain is in the forecast. Both have strong wet-track breeding and have won on a wet track. Both also have strong sprint breeding, although this will be Cinema Star's first race at the traditional six-furlong sprint distance.

Also in the feature are Diamonds N Dreams, who won his maiden last time out in his second start, and General Bob, who moves up from the claiming ranks.