12/12/2001 1:00AM

Horsemen protest three 10-race cards


ALBANY, Calif. - A plan by Golden Gate Fields to run 10-race cards Saturday, Sunday, and Monday has run into criticism from the Thoroughbred Owners of California and California Thoroughbred Trainers. As a result, Monday's card will have only nine races.

Richard Lewis, director of racing operations at Golden Gate, said that the 10-race cards were proposed because the track will be dark for eight days following Monday's racing, Hollywood Park has a mandatory pick-six payoff on Monday, and there are few competing simulcast signals that day. He noted that the meeting has been averaging more than eight starters per race

Jim Ghidella, northern California director of the TOC, agreed that more races on the weekend days could help generate more money for purses, but said he was concerned about the effect of three straight 10-race days on the horse population.

"We've been keeping to a schedule, and it's working," he said, pointing to field size and the increase in mutuel handle, particularly out of state.

"We're finding out less can be better in the long run."

Charlie Daugherty Jr., the CTT's northern California representative, said, "I can't see the rationale for running 10 on Monday."

Lewis said he didn't think three straight 10-race cards would have an "impact at all" on field size because of the eight-day gap between race days.

Friday's card includes three six-horse fields, including the feature race, a six-furlong allowance for fillies and mares. The field includes an uncoupled entry trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Navy R.N. and Modus Viblairski. Navy R.N. has not run since Feb. 1.

Another comebacker in the race is Sible, trained by Bob Hess. She has not run since Aug. 30, 2000. Rounding out the field are Anazeha, Writehof and Power to Burn.

The Chilean-bred Anazeha, from the Larry Ross barn, is making her third start in the United States. She won her final two starts in her homeland before battling on the lead then fading in her U.S. debut Oct. 5 at Bay Meadows. She finished second in her second start, a nose in front of Modus Viblairski.

* Fifteen 2-year-olds were nominated to Saturday's $55,000-added Gold Rush Stakes. The one-mile race is a prep for the upcoming Golden Gate Derby on Jan. 12.

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