11/06/2007 12:00AM

Five battling in prep for Sausalito

EmailALBANY, Calif. - All five entrants in the Thursday feature at Golden Gate Fields come out of a stakes race. The six-furlong allowance race is a prep for the Sausalito Stakes here on Nov. 23.

Court the King, the lone local entrant, ran second in the Oct. 20 Bay Meadows Speed Handicap.

He'll be facing Norm's Nephew, runner-up in the Sept. 16 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic at Emerald Downs; Coastal King and Immigration, who trailed Court the King at Bay Meadows; and the 3-year-old Jamaica Bound, who ran fourth in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby in his last start on Sept. 23.

Jerry Hollendorfer, perennially the leading trainer here, trains Court the King. Dan Markle, trainer of Norm's Nephew, noting that the other four in the race were based in Washington, quipped: "Somebody had to show up and fill races for King Jerry."

Or maybe it was nice of Hollendorfer to fill a race for the Washington-based trainers.

The makeup of the field shows the importance of new horses filling races at the Golden Gate Fields meeting, which is being conducted on a new Tapeta synthetic surface.

In need of a prep before the six-furlong Sausalito, racing secretary Sean Greely allowed Thursday's race to go on the program even though it had only five entrants.

Court the King broke slowly from the rail and closed well to be second to Wind Water in the Bay Meadows Speed Handicap. With a better break, he seems the logical choice to win Thursday.

Immigration, the runner-up in two Emerald sprint stakes this summer, should be able to grab the lead. He had traffic problems early in the Bay Meadows Speed.

Norm's Nephew was trained at Emerald by Jim Orr, but Markle took him down here. Markle said Thursday's race should give him an idea of whether to sprint Norm's Nephew or run him long.

"I've seen him quite a few times at Emerald, and I thought he was better going two turns," he said. "But Jimmy said he's won at 5 1/2 and six furlongs. We'll get a better gauge of how he fits here after this race.

Norm's Nephew, still looking for his first win of the year, was second in the July 29 Governor's Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs at Emerald.