01/26/2010 12:00AM

Ferndale will be center stage for a week


The California Horse Racing Board has approved Northern California's 2010 racing calendar, which includes several major changes to the summer fair circuit.

As usual, the San Joaquin County Fair at Stockton will open the fair season but will cut back from two weeks to one week. The Solano County Fair in Vallejo, whose existence has been tenuous the past few years, will not race in 2010. The Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton will run 15 days, as will the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa. Cal Expo in Sacramento will run 10 days from July 14-25, dates traditionally run at Solano, instead of late August through Labor Day weekend.

The tiny Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale's meet will have much less of an overlap this year. The first three days of its nine-day meet will coincide with the closing weekend at Santa Rosa, but Ferndale will be the only live track racing in Northern California the following week.

The fair season concludes with Fresno, which will run its usual 10-day meet from Oct. 6-17.

The dates are different than the proposed agreement brought to the CHRB by the California Authority of Racing Fairs, Thoroughbred Owners of California, California Thoroughbred Trainers, and Golden Gate Fields. Those dates had Ferndale overlapping with Golden Gate.

The approval of the calendar was decided on a 4-3 vote by the California Horse Racing Board. Retiring chairman John Harris was joined in the majority by incoming chairman Keith Brackpool and commissioners Jerome Moss and Richard Rosenberg. Vice chairman David Israel and commissioners Jesse Chopper and Bo Derek voted against the proposed calendar.

Harris has been a strong proponent of the fairs and spoke fervently for granting Ferndale solo dates. Harris cited the track's passionate fan base and unique opportunities for cheaper horses. He said less competition would provide Ferndale with needed revenues to help keep an "historic, colorful racing site" alive.

Harris said the dates might help Golden Gate Fields build the size of its fields as there will be an additional five-day break before its opening.

Chris Korby, executive director of the California Authority of Racing Fairs, said that financial help would be provided to Solano, which will still operate as a simulcast outlet, to make up for the loss of its live dates. Korby said the San Joaquin Fair in Stockton was assigned only one week because of the weak economy and because the fair is beginning a project to modernize its fairgrounds.

Maiden wins a long time coming

There are similarities between Adayforpickndaisys and My Leading Lady, who both broke into the win column last week.

Both 4-year-old fillies notched maiden victories in their 14th career starts. They also both had hit the board 11 times in their first 13 starts.

Adayforpickndaisys has never finished worse than fourth and has eight seconds and three thirds. All eight seconds and two of her thirds have come since she was claimed by trainer Bill Delia.

"I think she's a pretty nice little filly," said Delia, who claimed the daughter of Royal Cat for $12,500 last March for Roy Diederichsen. "I always had confidence in her, but it was getting a little frustrating.

"People were telling me she was a professional maiden, but this is like a slot machine. She keeps paying off."

Adayforpickndaisys earned $25,910 in 2009, running primarily in $20,000 and $25,000 maiden claimers. She graduated by four lengths for a $12,500 tag last Thursday.

"She got beat by some tough ones," Delia said. "Someone always seemed to jump up with a monster race. A lot of times $20,000 maiden races are tough races. Just because it's a maiden race doesn't mean it's a bad race."

Trainers frequently talk about horses gaining confidence from wins, and Delia says he has seen it happen. He hasn't noticed a difference in the filly since her victory.

Delia jokes he doesn't want to do "anything stupid," but because of her consistency he will consider running Adayforpickndaisys in a claim-proof $40,000 starter allowance. If he plays it more conservatively, a $12,500 nonwinners-of-two is possible.

My Leading Lady has six seconds and five thirds and has hit the board in all 11 starts since joining the barn of Bill Morey Jr.

Morey confesses that he doesn't have the same range of options as Delia. My Leading Lady, who did run for a $12,500 tag on Oct. 2, had raced for a bottom-level $8,000 tag in all of her other starts for Morey. Her 2 1/4-length victory Sunday came for an $8,000 tag in her first start since Nov. 1.

He believes she'll remain at the bottom level, which is now a $4,000 nonwinners-of-two claiming spot.

"We did give her a little slight blow," Morey said, "and we put a little more weight on her."

Morey appreciates the consistency of Martin Bach's homebred Crowning Storm filly but admits, "At most, she was just paying her bills" as she earned $15,160 in her 10 starts for him last year.

"She's pretty consistent," Morey said. "She's not the smoothest-going filly, but she kept hanging in."

* Saturday's first post will be 12:15 p.m. instead of the regular 12:45 p.m. due to Santa Anita's revised post schedule for the Sunshine Millions races.