01/12/2005 12:00AM

Forecast good for turf races


ALBANY, Calif. - With a sunny week on the horizon, Golden Gate Fields racing secretary Sean Greely has carded two turf races for Friday, including the feature, a $25,000 optional claimer at 1 3/8 miles.

The rainy weather that has turned northern and Southern California tracks into virtual quagmires has abated, and, unlike last Saturday, the forecast is good and the races will likely be run.

The course, though, figures to be quite soft and will probably be listed as yielding, so pedigree could go a long way in determining the winner in the feature.

Breeding suggests , one of the sharpest horses in northern California since returning from a break last September, could be the one to beat. He has won three of four starts, losing the other by a neck. Ghost Actor was claimed two back from a 16-length victory in the mud against $12,500 claimers. He came back to beat $25,000 claimers by a head last time despite stumbling at the start. Ghost Actor was re-claimed by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer for previous owners Sid and Jenny Craig.

Although winless in two starts on the turf, Ghost Actor, a son of Theatrical, has good turf breeding.

Fade to Blue's turf breeding isn't as strong as Ghost Actor's, but he is a distance specialist. won the 1 7/8-mile Hasta La Vista at Turf Paradise last year. Fly and Eagle has proven he can handle the distance, too, finishing fourth, beaten only 1 1/2 lengths in the Cal Cup Starter Handicap at 1 1/2 miles.

* With Texcess scheduled to run in Saturday's $100,000 Golden Gate Derby, potential challengers are looking for other spots.

Dover Dere, who won the Gold Rush here in his last start, will stay at Santa Anita to run in the Grade 2, $150,000 San Rafael.

"If it was in our own backyard, we'd probably run, but it doesn't make sense to ship for eight hours to run against him," said Doug O'Neill, Dover Dere's trainer.

Only three potential challengers - Buzzards Bay, Sharp Writer, and Valdini - are likely to face Texcess, who has won three of four starts, including the $1 million Delta Jackpot in his last start.

Texcess's trainer, Paul Aguirre, said he would talk to stewards before entries are taken to see if he can run Texcess without blinkers. Special permission is needed to make an equipment change after a winning effort.

"We needed blinkers in early races because he was super green in the morning," Aguirre said. "I think it's gotten to the point where blinkers may hurt him."