08/13/2002 11:00PM

Major jump for 'Code'


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Tony Calo, track announcer at Bay Meadows, is a man who puts his money where his mouth is.

Calo, whose passion for racing is evident in his race calls, is also a horse owner. His Winner's Code drew the rail for Friday's feature at the Bay Meadows Fair, a $25,000 claimer at six furlongs that drew five entrants.

Winner's Code makes a big jump up from the $8,000 level, where he scored an impressive victory at Vallejo on July 20.

"He's in tough," Calo said, "but horses get sharp. We think he's improving so we thought we'd give it a go."

The bad news for the speedy Winner's Code was his rail draw. He prefers to run on the outside. He appears, however, to have a slight speed advantage on a track that has played well to speed.

Calo claimed Winner's Code with trainer Bill McLean for $6,250 on March 9 at Golden Gate Fields.

Winner's Code stumbled badly at the start, dumping his jockey.

"That was one of the toughest races I ever had to call," said a joking Calo. "I had to concentrate on One Troy Ounce pulling away up front and watch my future investment as he almost went through the rail."

Calo has called races at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields since 1998 after serving as a backup at Bay Meadows the previous three years. His first job as an announcer was at the Bay Meadows Fair.

Calo has always loved racing, attending races with his father, Anthony, as a child.

"Owning a horse was something my father and I wanted to do, but he never got the chance," Calo said.

Calo's mother, Patricia, eventually purchased part of Ole Moses with McLean, with Calo later buying her share and making his first trip to the winner's circle as an owner.

Winner's Code, the fourth horse Calo has owned, is his second winner.

He has won twice for Calo, capturing a $6,250 six-furlong sprint at Bay Meadows on May 19.

His July 20 victory against $8,000 claimers was by seven lengths as he ran six furlongs in 1:08.41. He vied for the lead through the opening quarter, took command on the turn and pulled away.

"We saw a horse with a lot of early speed," Calo said of the claim. "He was lightly raced and had been a Keeneland September purchase. He looked like a horse who would fit nicely in the summer program in northern California."

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