05/13/2003 11:00PM

Early speed vies for early money

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Don't be late for Friday's 7:20 p.m. opener at Bay Meadows, as the San Mateo, Calif., track is putting its best foot forward with its top offering of the night going as the first race. At issue is a $28,000 purse, easily the largest on Friday's eight-race card.

The first race will match a field of five 3-year-old fillies, each eligible to be claimed for $32,000, at six furlongs.

As is often the case at Bay Area tracks, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and rider Russell Baze will team up with the likely favorite, Non Sibi. A speedy daughter of Wild Deputy, Non Sibi is coming off a win over $16,000 claimers in her 2003 return May 4. It was the third victory in just five starts for Non Sibi, who posted a 71 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest last race Beyer in this field. Though she is in for double the asking price Friday, she defeated $32,000 starter allowance company over this course last September and does not appear to be overmatched.

But Non Sibi can expect some stern early challenges as three of her rivals have consistently shown excellent early speed. Especially formidable is Smokin Tempo, an Ed Moger Jr.-trained daughter of Smokester who disputed the pace before settling for second in last summer's Solano County Juvenile Stakes at Solano. Smokin Temp went to the sidelines after that race, but has put in two useful efforts at the $40,000 starter-allowance level at this meet and could be ready to produce a peak effort in her third start back following a layoff.

If Non Sibi, Smokin Tempo, and perhaps Wilshe Amaze and Taylor's Plan, who also have early speed, should dispute the pace too vigorously, Paul's Accolades could be in the right spot to pick up the pieces. Paul's Accolades is coming off a string of four straight tries at one mile in which she set or pressed the early pace, but figures to come from behind given Friday's cutback in distance. Paul's Accolades, a daughter of Proud and True from the barn of trainer Chuck Jenda, won her maiden in her debut at Hollywood Park last December, coming from eighth to get up in time to score at six furlongs. A return to rating tactics could give her an advantage against the speedsters Friday, making her the most legitimate threat to upset Non Sibi.