06/22/2009 12:00AM

Field size, business solid at Stockton


Racing at the San Joaquin County Fair in Stockton, Calif., got off to a strong start, fair CEO Debbie Cook said. Ontrack handle on opening day last Thursday showed an increase of more than 50 percent from last year's opener, she said. Stockton ran a September meet in 2008.

The first four days of racing at Stockton, Thursday through Sunday, were conducted without the benefit of the actual fair, which opens Wednesday. The meet closes this Sunday.

With the fair sure to attract people to the track, Cook is optimistic that business at Stockton will stay strong the second week of the meet.

"We had good, full fields the first week," Cook said.

On Wednesday, the Stockton signal will be the only one in the state. Hollywood decided to drop Wednesdays from its schedule because it had trouble filling races.

"Hollywood Park made its decision not to run Wednesdays so late that we already had our publicity out, so we really couldn't cancel," Cook said.

Field size for Thoroughbred races during the first week averaged better than eight per race, Cook said. Wednesday's field size averages only six per race, but both the Thursday and Friday cards average more than eight per race.

Familiar names top jockey standings

A look at the jockey standings following the first week of the meeting resembled the standings at Golden Gate Fields, with Russell Baze in first place after scoring 5 wins from 9 mounts. Frank Alvarado was second, with four victories. David Lopez, Francisco Duran, Barrington Harvey, Chris Russell, and Chad Schvaneveldt had three each.

Schvaneveldt picked up his three wins Saturday, after having to take off three winners on Friday's card. Schvaneveldt was unseated in the starting gate aboard his first mount of the meet, Rosiana, on Thursday, landing on his head and neck. He was taken to a local hospital and released, but did not ride Friday.

Steve Sherman is atop the trainer standings with 5 wins from 12 runners. He also has a pair of seconds and thirds.

Sweepida, Pink Ribbon on tap

Racing secretary Tom Doutrich is hopeful that he'll have full fields for Saturday's $50,000 Sweepida and Sunday's $50,000 Pink Ribbon, both six-furlong sprints for 3-year-olds.

"We had 15 fillies for the Sweepida and 12 colts [for the Pink Ribbon], so hopefully we'll have eight to 10 for both races," Doutrich said. "These are the only races exclusively for 3-year-olds. We tried to get the word out, and the encouraging thing is so many trainers came to us. They nominated because they want to run."

There are no standouts among the nominees. Bakers Beach, who has 2 wins and 3 seconds in 5 career starts, could be favored in the Sweepida.

Expected to head the Pink Ribbon are Carbonite, who won his first two starts in Northern California before running sixth in the Grade 3 Laz Barrera at Hollywood Park May 24, and Maidens Justice, trying to return to his stakes-winning form of last year.

* A member of the Stockton starting gate crew died Sunday from injuries suffered in an accident earlier in the day. He apparently slipped off the gate as it was being moved after the start of a race. The name of the crew member had not been released as of Monday, pending notification of his family.