04/19/2002 12:00AM

High-percentage trainer spots Schnitzel just right


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Bill Morey is wise beyond his years, thanks in good part to working as an assistant to his father, William J. Morey Jr.

Bill Morey knows a horse's worth and where it is best to run him, as evidenced by his 23 percent win percentage this year.

And he has Schnitzel spotted nicely in Sunday's feature at Bay Meadows, a one-mile turf race with a $25,000 claiming tag.

Since claiming the 6-year-old mare Schnitzel for $25,000 on Nov. 26, 2000, Morey has seen her win four times in 10 starts and earn $81,240.

"We liked her consistency and thought she'd fit better up here," Morey said. "She had been running for $50,000 in Southern California and was probably a cut under those. But she's been solid here."

Morey has started her only once on the dirt, a sprint last October that was meant strictly as a prep after a 6 1/2-month layoff .

"I think she's a turf specialist," he said. "I've always tried to keep her on turf. Even during the Golden Gate Fields meet, I waited for turf for her."

Schnitzel's first three victories for Morey came at the $40,000 claiming level. He dropped her to the $12,500 level two starts back, stole a win and saw no one claim her.

She moved back to the $25,000 level in her last start, finishing fourth behind Miss Terasita.

"She's probably not quite as good as she was at one time," Morey said, "but she's a real hard trier. She has real heart."

Morey entered her in the Golden Poppy Handicap in December at Golden Gate Fields. Though she ran fifth in the race, Schnitzel did pick up a check, something she's done in every race for Morey except the one dirt sprint in which he was prepping her.

With $163,148 in total earnings, Schnitzel might be a decent broodmare prospect.

"I don't know much about her breeding because she's from Ireland," Morey said. "One day when she wraps up her career, she might be a broodmare because she's won a lot of races and money."

Schnitzel will likely be favored in Sunday's feature against seven rivals, including Do It In Style, who ran second as the favorite when claimed for $25,000 by trainer John Terry Marshall in her last start.

Also entered are Fleet Naski, Pilgrim Miss, Deputy Song, Maytown Misstree, Microlady, and Secret Mystique.

The turf claimer is Sunday's feature after only three 3-year-olds were nominated to the six-furlong $55,000-added Atherton Handicap. The race was canceled.