03/19/2007 12:00AM

Koriner's influence tough to avoid

Email

SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Brian Koriner's fingerprints were all over the weekend's best races at Bay Meadows.

Court's in Session, a multiple stakes winner trained by Koriner, won a $62,500 claiming sprint at six furlongs Saturday, and the Koriner-trained Dealer Choice won Sunday's Luck of the Irish Handicap.

Wind Water, just claimed from Koriner, and the comebacking Stone Rain, who was claimed out of the race by Koriner, set things up for Court's in Session, dueling through fractions of 21.70 and 44.08 seconds. Colonel Courtney got first run on the top pair and easily went by, but Court's in Session was flying outside him and put his head in front at the wire.

"He's a hard-knocking, classy old dude, full of class," Monty Meier, who handles Koriner's Northern California string, said of Court's in Session, who defeated Stone Rain in the Ernest Finley at Santa Rosa last summer.

"I get on him every day," Meier said. "That's one of the perks of running the barn here. He loves to stop and look over the rail when he goes through the tunnel, and he always stops and checks everything out when we reach the gap."

Stone Rain was making his first start since September. Meier said he isn't sure whether Koriner will leave Stone Rain here or take him south.

"He would fit down there," Meier said.

Joel Rosario gave Dealer Choice a ground-saving ride in the Luck of the Irish. The win was the first in a stakes for Dealer Choice, and the first in a stakes in this country for Rosario.

Board to hear surface delay request

On Thursday at Bay Meadows, the California Horse Racing Board will consider the track's request for a two-year exemption on installing a synthetic surface. The board earlier mandated that the state's major tracks must install synthetic racing surfaces by the end of this year.

Hollywood Park - which, like Bay Meadows, is owned by the Bay Meadows Land Co. - and Del Mar have installed synthetic tracks, and Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita plan to this summer.

The president of Bay Meadows, F. Jack Liebau, said before the current meet that Bay Meadows would have to close if not granted an exemption, citing the estimated $8 million cost of installing the surface. Bay Meadows is in the planning stages of developing the track and the area around it.

At Thursday's meeting, the racing board will consider the Solano County Fair's request to conduct a joint meeting with the Sonoma County Fair. The meet would run one week, from July 11 to 15, in Vallejo, home of the Solano fair, and three weeks (July 18-Aug. 6) in Santa Rosa, home of the Sonoma fair. The request also seeks to add an additional day, July 23, to the Northern California racing schedule.

Also on the agenda is a public hearing on plans to modify permitted levels of furosemide (Lasix) and clenbuterol in testing, and a hearing on the adoption of a proposed breath alcohol testing program for jockeys.

The meeting will be webcast at chrb.ca.gov.

Turf tryouts in card's opener

Bay Meadows resumes its normal five-day race schedule Wednesday with a solid card.

The day's opening event, a 7 1/2-furlong maiden turf race, is the best race on the card as well as the most intriguing. Three of the five entrants will be making their turf debuts.

Jehovah Jireh, a runner-up in both starts since stretching out off a sprint prep, could be the one to beat based on current form. One runner he beat in a Jan. 26 race, Ronica's Boy, won his next start running on turf.

Jehovah Jireh, however, doesn't have a particularly strong turf pedigree based on his Tomlinson numbers. His sire is only 2 for 41 with first-timers on turf.

Royal Robert, third in all four of his starts, including his first try around two turns behind Jehovah Jireh, has better turf breeding. He's a half-brother to turf stakes winner Roberta's Mango and a half to stakes-winning Bold Roberta, who earned more than $100,000 on the turf.

Westerly Magic, 0 for 6 on the turf, comes north in hopes of finding an easier field.

* Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer nominated four runners to Saturday's $50,000-added Hillsborough Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Hollendorfer said Gemstone Rush would run in the race. He also nominated Hystericalady, Secret Scheme, and Northern California's top older mare, Somethinaboutlaura.

* Apprentice jockey Pedro Flores was suspended by the Bay Meadows stewards for 60 days, retroactive to March 4, for testing positive for amphetamines and methamphetamine. Flores must complete a minimum 30-day rehabilitation program and must adhere to a testing agreement with the state racing board. His license can be reinstated May 2, but he will be on probation until Dec. 31, 2008.