Updated on 09/17/2011 11:10AM

Jockeys running neck and neck early


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Through the first three days of the Bay Meadows Fair meeting, quite a jockeys' race has developed.

Russell Baze, Joe Castro, Francisco Duran, and David Lopez all had three winners, with Duran getting all of his victories on Friday's card.

Duran won the Bay Meadows Fair riding title last year, edging Baze and Jason Lumpkins. After a slow start early on the fair circuit, he has been picking up steam.

At Vallejo, his heady ride aboard Sharp Miss resulted in a victory in the Fairfield Stakes. When she broke sharply, he let her take the lead rather than trying to rate her, and it paid off.

At Santa Rosa, he won the Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes with Razen Hazen, who won twice during the meet.

After his three-win day Friday, Duran was out early Saturday morning to work horses.

"You still have to go out in the morning and work hard whether you win three or even if you don't win, because every day is a different day," he said.

Lopez had hoped to score a stakes victory on his 22nd birthday Sunday aboard unbeaten stakes winner Irish Ides, but the race didn't fill.

"I work a lot of horses for her trainer, Greg Gilchrist, and she didn't seem to be his best," Lopez said. "When she ran, she ran like a professional. She wasn't scared being around horses. She runs inside or outside, and I loved the way she fired in the stakes race. She came back from that and worked well."

Lopez, who arrived in northern California last summer, has been getting better mounts during the fair circuit.

"My agent has worked real hard," he said. "When you start to win, people see how you ride. Now I'm getting good horses."

Gilchrist sending pair to Del Mar

Gilchrist is sending two of his better 3-year-olds, Post Pattern and Frisco Belle, to Del Mar in hopes of finding races for them. Earlier this year, stakes winner Taraval went south for his first two starts of the year.

"If you own a good 3-year-old, there's no place to run up here," he said.

Obermeister heads turf feature

Mayneunderfire, with 14 wins in 26 starts, and stakes winner Obermeister head an interesting field in Monday's feature, a 1 1/16-mile starter allowance on the turf.

Obermeister, the lone 3-year-old in the field, won the Pleasanton Stakes against his own age group two starts back. He was third in the $100,000 Ascot Handicap and later second in an allowance race over the course in his previous starts before his stakes win.

* Through the first three days of the meeting, both ontrack attendance and handle have risen by 1 percent.