12/23/2005 12:00AM

Hollendorfer holds the aces


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Since the northern California racing calendar was revised last year to consist of shorter meets, handle and attendance has generally gone up. F. Jack Liebau, president of Bay Meadows, is confident those trends will continue when his track opens a 31-day holiday meet on Monday.

Long a proponent of shorter meets, Liebau says, "It helps the ontrack business because you get people in the area to come out. It's improbable to believe they will come out every day during a long meet."

Although the parent company of the track, the Bay Meadows Land Company, is proceeding with plans to develop the land on the Bay Meadows site, Liebau says the track will continue to operate for the foreseeable future.

"I've had a long tenure at Bay Meadows," he said. "Who knows what the future holds for us? I don't see the demolition of the track and development [of the land] for some period of years. I don't think it's imminent."

The opening-day feature pits six horses going 1 1/16 miles in the $75,000 Holiday Turf Handicap, a race that will be run on the main track after a week of strong rains that have hit the Bay Area.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who won 7 of the 11 stakes at the recently concluded Golden Gate Fields meeting, sends out the entry of Adreamisborn and Trickey Trevor as well as Ace Blue. Desert Boom and Traffic Update, uncoupled entries from the Art Sherman barn, and My Creed round out the field.

Desert Boom has won 5 of 10 starts this year, including the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap and Claiming Crown Jewel. He ran second as the favorite in the Cal Cup Classic in his last start.

"We entered when the race came off the turf, but it came up salty. It will be a good test," said Sherman's son and assistant, Steve, noting that Desert Boom has two wins as well as a third in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup, on an off track.

Trickey Trevor, who won the Forty Niner in his last start, is unbeaten on wet surfaces. Adreamisborn has been among northern California's most consistent runner this year, with four stakes wins on turf, and he, too, has always run well on wet tracks.

Eight stakes races will be run at the meet, with the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby on Jan. 29 the highlight. The purse for the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds has been raised $50,000 to $250,000.

The El Camino Real Derby, which was run in March for the last several years, has been restored to the slot on the calendar that made it a key early-season test for 3-year-olds back in the 1980's. Gate Dancer, Tank's Prospect, and Snow Chief - Preakness winners from 1984-86 - all ran in the El Camino Real.

"The new meet gave us the opportunity to place the El Camino Real Derby in the same place on the calendar where it historically proved to be successful," Liebau said. "In the past, trainers like D. Wayne Lukas would use it. Being run in January, it's one of the first two-turn races for 3-year-olds."

Racing secretary Tom Doutrich says the horse population is up, and while he hopes the weather will cooperate, he notes: "This track handles wet weather better than Golden Gate."