04/12/2005 11:00PM

Longer Walk's season debut no cakewalk


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Stakes-placed Longer Walk will get a stern test when he makes his 3-year-old debut Friday night at Bay Meadows.

The winner last summer of two starts, including his debut for a $32,000 claiming tag at the Bay Meadows Fair, Longer Walk meets four rivals in a first-level allowance race at six furlongs. He is one of three in the race with two victories and the only runner with stakes experience.

Primarily a stalker, has worked nicely for his first start since Nov. 18, when he raced four wide on the turn and faded in the lane to finish third in an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields. He has a steady series of drills for trainer Dean Pederson, including a six-furlong bullet work on March 13 and a five-furlong work in 1:00.60, in his final drill for this last Saturday.

Longer Walk is also adding blinkers to help him focus a bit early and gain better position.

The field is solid.

Pure as Gold has the most speed. He comes north for trainer Mike Puhich. Leading rider Russell Baze will be aboard.

Pure as Gold did nothing in the slop in his debut Feb. 19, when he finished fourth to Illinois Derby winner Greeley's Galaxy. In his second start, Pure as Gold set fast fractions to defeat $100,000 maiden claimers, and then set the pace before fading in the lane in a one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita in his last start.

He should be able to get the early lead Friday and could prove hard to catch.

Prescriptionneeded ran third in his March 3 comeback at this level, his first start since winning his maiden in June. He has recorded three drills since.

Thirsty Guy's and Michael Motorcycle both come into the race off victories in $40,000 starter allowance races. Like Longer Walk, they each have two career victories.

Michael Motorcycle defeated Thirsty Guy's as the favorite, but has not run since that Jan. 30 race at Golden Gate Fields. Thirsty Guy's most recently scored a nine-length victory after cruising on the lead in a March 31 route race. He followed up with a nice half-mile work.

* Jockey Frank Alvarado's three-day suspension ends Friday. He was given the suspension following his April 3 ride aboard Ghost Actor for what the stewards said was "failure to make proper effort to maintain a straight course in the stretch and causing interference."