09/05/2003 12:00AM

Five-horse stakes sets precedent


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Does the decision to run Saturday's $60,000-added Big Jag Handicap at Bay Meadows with only five entrants signal a new era for racing at northern California tracks?

Most stakes races are written as overnight handicaps so management has the option of canceling them if the field is not large enough.

New racing secretary Tom Doutrich said he never considered postponing the Big Jag.

"We had two millionaire sprinters with Echo Eddie and Full Moon Madness," Doutrich said. "We're fortunate to have these horses here renewing what has become a good rivalry."

Doutrich was disappointed with only 64 entries for Sunday's nine-race card but said it was a case of numbers catching up with him.

"On Aug. 29 when we began racing, our inventory was 1,500 horses at Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields, and Pleasanton," he said.

Bay Meadows opened with a four-day week, and Sunday is the fifth day in a six-day week.

"We'd like to average eight horses per race, but in a normal week we run 42 races," Doutrich said. "That's 336 horses, or more than 20 percent of our population, and horses can't run every week."

Woody Haze runs for new barn

Woody Haze, who was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Art Sherman from a turf victory at Del Mar in his last start and won a $62,500 claiming race over the turf here last spring, heads a field of six Sunday in a $50,000 optional claiming race at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Schvaneveldt suspended

Jockey Chad Schvaneveldt will serve a three-day suspension Sept. 12-14 after withdrawing his appeal of a May 29 ruling at the Bay Meadows spring meet for his May 26 ride aboard Buster B Bimbo, which resulted in a disqualification from first to seventh.

Apprentice jockey Emmanuel Mendez was handed a three-day suspension for his ride Thursday on Albert Slewsky, who finished fourth. Mendez will miss Sept. 8, 10, and 12 for "failure to make a proper effort to maintain a straight course in the stretch."

Ray Harris, Russell Baze's agent, was fined $100 for "failure to conduct his business in a proper manner" on Aug. 31.

* A graveside service will be held Sunday at 10 a.m. at Salem Cemetery in Colma for owner Sam Basin, who died Thursday night of heart failure at 86.