07/27/2004 11:00PM

Geardown one to beat in sprint


SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Seven older runners meet in Friday's feature at the Sonoma County Fair, a $25,000 optional claimer at six furlongs that appears to be Geardown's race to lose.

Geardown already has three victories this year, although he has not won since being claimed for $40,000 by trainer John Martin for Robert Bone at Santa Anita on March 26. He has picked up checks in four of his five starts for Martin, including two seconds at Bay Meadows and a third in a strong allowance race behind Lunar Lion in his last start, on July 9 at Pleasanton.

His stalking style should pay off, although stablemate Danzhound is also coming off a strong effort - second against similar rivals at Pleasanton.

Danzhound and Duddly Doo Run are the only two in the field racing for the claiming tag.

Ninetenthsofthelaw will be the one to catch. He pressed the pace before fading in the Sam Whiting Handicap at Pleasanton. He couldn't match speedball Twentythreejaybird in a start before that, but he appears to have a pace advantage here.

Jockey Demesme injured again

Jockey Elliott Demesme, knocked unconscious when dumped from Couer Defeu, who took a bad step at the wire in a winning race at Stockton recently, was hospitalized Wednesday after Dagoberry, a mule he was scheduled to ride, reared in the gate. Demesme was knocked unconscious again, and taken to a hospital for X-rays.

The incident occurred before the second race, delaying the start for 15 minutes.

Rookie announcer gets call

John Lies called Wednesday's 10th race, his first live call as an announcer.

Lies, 27, who handles broadcast results at Hollywood Park, came north for the Santa Rosa meet with track announcer Vic Stauffer, who also calls races at Hollywood Park.

"Vic and I did a radio show Kentucky Derby Day and discussed my coming up," Lies said. "Vic has helped me a lot and let me practice my calls on the roof at Hollywood Park."

Lies has been calling races since he was 6 or 7.

"I'd call off TV. I'd turn the sound down and call like I was Trevor Denman," Lies said. "I finally met Trevor at Del Mar when I was 9 and have known him since then."