10/19/2004 11:00PM

Fillies try switching to dirt


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Nine 3-year-old fillies, many of whom seem more at home on the turf, meet in Friday's Bay Meadows feature, a $40,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

Seven of the nine entrants come out of grass races, and Tavern on Rush and Winter Runner come off wins on turf. Despite the switch in surface, they may be the ones to beat.

Tavern on Rush has failed to pick up a check only once in six career starts and has shown good speed routing on the turf against easier opponents in her past two starts. She'll face more pace pressure Friday and may settle for a stalking trip behind Marla Bay, Indefensible, and Striking Cobra. Tavern on Rush has stalked the pace before. She sat back early and unleashed a strong stretch run to dead-heat with Dinos Promise for a victory in her debut. She was claimed for $32,000 out of that race.

Winter Runner, who just won her maiden on the turf, sat back in her victory and unleashed a strong kick while five wide on the second turn. She is eligible to face easier but had met some of the best maiden fillies on the grounds before finally gaining her first win, and shouldn't be overmatched here. Winter Runner will sit back again, and should be a factor with her late kick.

Baze loses one out of win column

A stewards' ruling on Sunday will cost Russell Baze a victory.

Baze's victory aboard Butte City on July 17 at the Solano County Fair was voided after the horse was deemed unqualified to run in the $10,000 claimer, which he won by a head over Especialista.

Stewards at Hollywood Park had suspended Butte City's owner, John Doyle, earlier that morning for failure to meet his financial obligations, but notification did not reach the stewards at Solano before the race.

The race's revised order of finish: Especialista, Red Eye, No Night, Road Grader, and California Sage.

Golden Poppy coming up small

Saturday's $55,000 Golden Poppy Handicap at one mile looks as if it will attract a small field.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer plans to run Gonetorule and the multiple stakes winner Marwood, whose string of three straight stakes victories was snapped in the Hillsborough in her last start. Trainer Neil Drysdale will send Beaucette north for her stakes debut, and Frisco Belle will make a comeback for trainer Greg Gilchrist.

Irish Femme, River Ella, Devil Dancing, and Girl Warrior are possible.