04/20/2007 12:00AM

Last shot for lovers of local turf


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Sunday marks closing day of the Bay Meadows spring meet, and it gives several runners in the feature race, a $25,000 claimer at one mile on turf, one last chance to run on their favorite course before the move to Golden Gate Fields on Wednesday.

After Sunday, the next time horses can run over the Bay Meadows turf is in August at the San Mateo Fair.

Seven signed up for the race with an eighth, Tonco, entered for the main track only.

The likely race favorite is Raise the Heat, who has won 4 of 11 turf starts with all four victories coming over the turf at Bay Meadows.

On the sidelines for 10 months, Raise the Heat returned in a $32,000 main-track sprint here on March 16, running second. Switched back to the turf, he stalked the pace and finished third in a $32,000 claimer on the turf, leaving his record at 4-0-1 in 6 starts over the turf here.

The slight drop should work well for Raise the Heat, who has the speed to sit close to the pace no matter how quick it might be. That should keep him in close contact with likely pacesetters We Will Prevail and Red Wagon.

We Will Prevail is another who loves the Bay Meadows turf course. We Will Prevail may appear overmatched on the move up from the $6,250 claiming level. But he has won at higher levels than $25,000 claiming.

"I guess you can say he's running because he likes Bay Meadows so much," owner-trainer Jim Barnes said.

We Will Prevail has won his past two starts, both on the Bay Meadows main track. His 15 victories are the most in the field, and his only two turf victories came among his four starts over the turf here.

Smiling King won going a mile over the turf here in his last start. He steps up a notch Sunday.

Gold Creek Dancer, second behind Smiling King two starts back, has a second and third in his two turf tries here, and Red Wagon has two seconds in three turf starts here.

Tonco, should the race be moved to the main track, has shown a fondness for Bay Meadows with a 3-4-2 mark in 13 starts here.