11/07/2006 12:00AM

A good fit for Marbury


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainers Kay Cooper and John Martin were happy to see there was a race for their horses Thursday at Bay Meadows. But after looking at a tough five-horse field, which includes Marbury for Cooper and Me My Mine for Martin, they are reminded of that old warning: Be careful what you wish for.

Also competing in the race, a $62,500 optional claimer at one mile on the turf, are Ultimato, a last-out allowance winner on the turf; Faulkwood Shores, a front-runner; and In Excelsis, who comes north from Southern California.

Marbury comes off a 1 1/2-length win over Faulkwood Shores at this level at Bay Meadows on Oct. 21, when Faulkwood Shores set the pace before being run down. Marbury should get a similar setup Thursday with the presence of Me My Mine and Ultimato, who should soften up Faulkwood Shores up front.

Cooper, who handles all of trainer Jim Penney's horses in Bay Meadows, said she was thinking of entering Marbury in one of the starter races on Cal Cup Day at Santa Anita, only a week after his Oct. 21 victory. But when the field came up bigger than she expected, she decided to wait for a spot at Bay Meadows. The timing is good for Marbury, who will have had three weeks between races.

Me My Mine has won two stakes since Martin claimed him out of his first turf win. He won four straight - a one-mile claiming race, the Claiming Crown Jewel, a turf race at this level, and the Phil D. Shepherd at Fairplex - before losing in the Hinds Invitational at Fairplex in his last start.

"Even though he's won two stakes, we always planned he'd be a $50,000 or $62,500 horse," Martin said.

Martin admits that Me My Mine may be better on dirt, but said that he is not afraid to run him on turf.

Me My Mine will get a good trip behind Faulkwood Shores.

Faulkwood Shores is game, but he will have a hard time holding off the stalkers. The race could come down to whichever stalker gets the first jump.

In Excelsis, who is winless this year, makes his first start in northern California. He will make the late run from the back of the pack.