10/07/2004 11:00PM

Maiden live play in stakes


SAN MATEO, Calif. - A maiden may be the one to beat in Sunday's $55,000-added Courtship Stakes at Bay Meadows.

Six 2-year-old fillies signed up for the race.

Berstein's Babe, a $125,000 Barretts purchase this year, has run second in both her starts.

She flashed speed in her debut at Del Mar, finishing second to She's a Jewel. In her second start, at Fairplex, she stalked the pace, grabbed the lead into the lane, and was beaten by Lunar Flight in the $118,000 Barretts Debutante at 6 1/2 furlongs.

"She had a little difficulty with the turns at Pomona," said her trainer, Jeff Bonde.

"She's got talent. She's a pretty-moving horse and she has a lot of quickness."

She'll be meeting the stakes-winning Timeintown, who won the Juan Gonzalez Memorial Stakes at Pleasanton this summer and is coming off a second-place finish in the Bustles and Bows at Fairplex.

Crisane has two wins and a third in three starts, while Crowning Camilla and Fairy Tale Dream are coming off impressive maiden victories. Crowning Camilla won by 10 lengths here on Sept. 25, while Fairy Tale Dream won by 3 1/2 at Fairplex.

Timeintown has speed but drew the rail, which will not be particularly helpful. Bernstein's Babe drew post 3, and Crisane the 4. Crowning Camilla, who also has some speed, drew the 5.

Crisane could offer the best value in the race.

She won her debut for $20,000 at Santa Rosa.

"I had no idea how she'd run, but she showed a lot of class," said her trainer, Lloyd Mason.

She ran third in an allowance race, then won a $32,000 starter allowance in her most recent start.

Mason likes her competitiveness and believes that will aid her Sunday.

"When she works in company, she shows a whole lot more than by herself," he said.

Harvest Festival one-horse race

The Big Fresno Fair had a very successful opening day Wednesday but seems to have a virtual walkover in Sunday's $30,000-added Harvest Festival Stakes at six furlongs for 2-year-olds.

Brian Koriner, who also trains Crowning Camilla, sends out multiple stakes winner Wind Water, who should be the prohibitive favorite. Three fillies who have never won for a higher tag than $12,500, and three maidens, one unraced, are among his seven rivals. The other runner, Longer Walk, was a distant fourth to Wind Water in the San Mateo Stakes.

In addition to the San Mateo Stakes, Wind Water won the Everett Nevin-Alameda County Futurity. He seems to have too much speed and class for any of his rivals, and the real wager may be if he will win the race by more than 10 lengths.

Opening day showed a 27 percent increase in handle, and the card averaged 9.6 runners per race.

Ontrack attendance was up 21 percent over the 2003 opener, to 4,235. The ontrack handle was $250,467, a 24 percent increase. All-source handle increased 27 percent to $442,214.