01/30/2004 1:00AM

Lack of horses spurs claiming run


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainers have been busy at the claim box at Golden Gate Fields. From Thursday, Jan. 22 through Thursday, Jan. 29, 21 trainers claimed 30 horses. Among those trainers were Brian Koriner, who won a seven-way shake for Wine Spoken Here on Jan. 22, and William E. Morey, who won a 10-way shake for Bettor Royalty last Wednesday.

The number of trainers claiming horses is a good sign, said trainer John F. Martin.

"All of a sudden, everybody has business," said Martin, who has claimed one horse himself. "A lot of guys are shopping around. I think a lot of guys have clients that want to get in the game."

There are only about 1,500 horses in northern California, and leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said trainers are so active at the claim box because they are trying to keep their stalls filled. The number of horses in the region will decrease in the next couple months as Washington-based trainers take their horses home for the opening of the Emerald Downs meeting.

"I think there are so few to claim from that everyone is zeroing in on the same horses," Morey said.

One of the goals of Tom Doutrich, the racing secretary at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields, was to stimulate the claiming game. To that end, he has limited the kind of races claiming horses can run in.

Looks like a match race

Three $40,000 starter allowance races highlight the Golden Gate Fields Sunday card.

A 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares seems a match race between Lightening and Docket. Each ran second in her last start, but Lightening, who has two bullet works since her last start, appears to be the one to beat.

In a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares, Summer Sails, a wire-to-wire winner in a straight maiden race in her last start, and Sidestepping, who won a maiden claiming race, look tough. Angel's Dowry is moving up off a strong effort in a $20,000 claimer.

The final race of the three, a one-mile event for 3-year-olds, seems to set up for Dancin Candy, second at this level in his past two starts.