08/20/2004 11:00PM

Ema Bovary finished for the year


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Ema Bovary, northern California's top racehorse, is through for the year.

Trainer Larry Ross had planned to run her in next Sunday's

Grade 1 Ballerina, a seven-furlong race at Saratoga, but canceled those plans Friday.

"Plans have changed," Ross said. "Up to this week, we were going to go, but maybe the last two works were too much for her. She's just a little bit dull. She left a little grain in her feed bucket Wednesday, and her blood work's a little off.

"We probably could have gone, but she's not quite herself. If you go back there, you want to go back loaded for bear. I've felt very confident every other time, but this time there were a few wouldas and shouldas creeping into my thinking."

Since running seventh after a bad start in her U.S. debut, Ema Bovary won nine straight races, including eight stakes. She finished second in the Grade 3 Desert Stormer at Hollywood Park on June 5 but rebounded to win the Grade 2 Princess Rooney at Calder on July 10.

This year, Ema Bovary has earned $521,780 with four victories and a second in five starts.

Ross said plans are for the 5-year-old Ema Bovary to race again next year.

Vacation time for several riders

Ross's decision not to ship to Saratoga changes the riding plans of jockey Roberto Gonzalez, who intended to ride Thursday and Friday at the State Fair in Sacramento after Monday's closing day at the Bay Meadows Fair to stay sharp for his trip to Saratoga.

Now he, like many other riders, will pass on riding at Sacramento and resume riding when the Bay Meadows fall meet opens Labor Day weekend.

"I've had bad experiences there so I use the time for a little vacation," said Ron Warren Jr., who dominates the turf at Bay Meadows.

Hall of Famer Russell Baze, northern California's perennial leader, will ride Saturday at Del Mar and may have a mount in next Sunday's Earlene McCabe Derby at Sacramento, but, after that, he will just wait for the start of the Bay Meadows meeting. Baze will be shooting for his 30th Bay Meadows riding championship.

Dennis Carr, who led all riders at the Bay Meadows Fair, and Francisco Duran, whose success on the fair circuit as an apprentice two years ago catapulted him into the top 10 in local jockey standings, also plan to take a short break from riding.