09/12/2004 11:00PM

Gill may send string, but stall space is scarce

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Owner Michael Gill has talked to Bay Meadows about getting stall space.

SAN MATEO, Calif. - Owner Michael Gill, who has been denied stalls at several racetracks, is considering sending a string of horses to Bay Meadows.

Peter Tunney, who heads the northern California division of Magna Entertainment, which operates Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields, has talked to Gill about possibly granting him stalls for the current meet. The nation's leading owner in victories last year and this year, Gill recently was granted 50 stalls for the Breeders' Cup meet at Lone Star Park.

Tunney said the only barrier to granting Gill stalls is a lack of stall space. Bay Meadows is currently full, he said, and Golden Gate Fields is close to capacity, with some barns being repaired and unavailable.

Many Washington-based trainers have requested stalls in northern California with the passage of legislation that has brought workers' compensation costs down.

Gill spent last winter in Southern California, claiming more than 70 horses before leaving in the spring.

"He has shown some interest in coming back to California," Tunney said.

Tunney said that Gill "would be like anybody else" if he applies for stalls.

Tom Roberts said he has talked to Gill about training a northern California string for him.

"It would be a great opportunity for me," Roberts said. "He's very impressive to talk to. He knows the game and knows what he wants to do. He loves the game."

Gill's aggressive claiming tactics have raised the ire of some fellow trainers and racetrack management. Gill has been denied stalls by the New York Racing Association, which cited past medication positives as the reason for not allotting him stalls.

Despite having to ship his horses from his training facility in Pennsylvania, Gill was the leading owner in victories at the recently concluded Saratoga meet. Two of Gill's horses, both trained by Mark Shuman, tested positive for a banned medication during the Saratoga meet, according to a steward for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. An attorney representing Shuman denied the horses tested positive and requested that a split sample be tested.

Teamwork led to Green Team's victory

Trainer Jeff Bonde is quick to credit his brother Gary, who is a farrier, and jockey Russell Baze for Green Team's victory in Saturday's $100,000 .

Baze alertly took Green Team to the lead in the paceless race when Revello had trouble leaving the gate.

"My horse broke great, and after the first jump, when nobody went, I let him roll," Baze said. "I knew halfway around the turn I had a lot of horse, and they'd have to do some running to catch him."

Revello was expected to take the lead, but jockey Jon Court said his mount lost his footing.

"The ground broke out from under him behind," Court said. "His hind legs were spinning. I expected to be on the lead and ended up breaking last. I thought I'd be out there dictating things, but that game plan went out the window at the break."

Bonde was not concerned to see Green Team on the lead, especially after seeing the open fraction of 22.44 seconds for a quarter-mile.

He claimed Green Team for $32,000 a year ago at Solano and has seen the 5-year-old gelding win 4 of 12 starts with 5 seconds, earning $365,315. Green Team's victories include last year's Cal Cup Sprint, and Bonde said his next race would be a defense of that title on Oct. 16.

Bonde said he had originally planned to give Green Team a little freshener and leave him in Southern California.

"I had nothing but trouble with his feet," he said. "They kept getting stretched out. We finally brought him back here, and my brother Gary did a great job getting his feet back together. He's been training much better the last 30 days than he had in a long time."

San Mateo in danger of cancellation

With only seven 2-year-olds nominated to Saturday's $55,000 San Mateo Stakes, the race could be in jeopardy. Since it is an overnight stakes, it does not have to be run, and there may not be enough entrants to prompt management to card it.

Wind Water, the lone stakes winner among the nominees, was entered in Tuesday's Beau Brummel at Fairplex.

More Crafty to battle Smoke Till Dawn

Six older runners have signed up for Wednesday's Bay Meadows feature, a $50,000 optional claimer at six furlongs.

More Crafty, winner of the Danville Handicap over Green Team at Golden Gate Fields last spring, will have to be at his best going against Smoke Till Dawn, who has won four straight.

More Crafty, coming off a fourth-place finish in the Island Whirl at Louisiana Downs, is in for the $50,000 tag, while Smoke Till Dawn, Golden Gate Fields's record-holder at six furlongs, does not run for a tag.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer sends out two runners, Boss Ego and Sirpa, both of whom have won stakes here. Boss Ego won the one-mile San Carlos in 2002, while Sirpa won the 1 1/16-mile Pacifica in 2002. The sharp Geardown and Mo Mon, who has not raced since May 2003, round out the field.