07/06/2008 11:00PM

Meet back to full-length format in Vallejo


Racing returns for two weeks to the Solano County Fair in Vallejo, Calif., on Wednesday after last year's experiment that saw Solano transfer one week of racing to Santa Rosa.

Handle during the extra week of racing at Santa Rosa, held without the normal Sonoma County Fair attractions, held up well compared to when the fair was running.

This year there is a similar situation at the Solano County Fair, which will race its second week without the fair itself being open. The fair runs from July 9-13, and racing will continue through July 21.

The Solano County Fair is the second fair meet of the season, following the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, which closed Sunday. With Golden Gate having closed on June 22, some of the horses who ran at that meet should be ready to run again, and Solano may be able to offer some higher-level claiming and allowance races this year.

Although Solano is sandwiched between two of the most popular fair meets in Pleasanton and Santa Rosa, which has a turf course, the Solano County Fair's general manager, Joe Barkett, said Solano "is still a major player."

"I'm very enthusiastic we'll have good racing," he said.

Barkett expects a full barn area with the end of the Pleasanton meet. He said 250 of the track's 800 stalls were in use during the Pleasanton meet.

The track has created a new grandstand entryway, with gardens, and has new tables and chairs for fans. Drainage has been improved on backstretch, and there is a new backstretch kitchen.

Admission will be discounted to $3 for the second week. Parking will be discounted $1 to $5 during the second week of racing.

Barkett said the track plans a series of daily giveaways during the second week, including $1 beer and hot dogs on July 19. A binocular giveaway will be held on July 16. B.B. King will perform at the main fair on opening day.

Stakes winners had similar styles

Pleasanton's closing weekend stakes winners, Scrumpy, She's Sensational, and Conga Kaye, had two things in common. It was the first stakes win for each, and each rallied from last on the speed-favoring track.

Scrumpy, who won the Sam Whiting, could make his next start in the $75,000 California State Fair Sprint at Sacramento. The six-furlong race is for California-breds.

She's Sensational, winner of the Alameda County Handicap, and the runner-up, Double Dip, could renew their rivalry in the Luther Burbank on July 26 at Santa Rosa. The 1 1/16-mile race is on the turf, but both handle grass well.

Conga Kaye, who won the Juan Gonzalez in her debut, could look at the Wine Country Juvenile at six furlongs at Santa Rosa on July 27 or the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 6.

Gelding has new outlet

Trainer Dean Pederson has some interesting options with the speedy Vaderator, who won the Jack Robinson Memorial on closing day at Pleasanton. The 5-year-old Thoroughbred gelding dominated the 870-yard mixed-breed race, winning by eight lengths in 44.457 seconds, breaking Oh Oh Ole's track record of 44.550 seconds set on July 2, 1984.

There is another mixed-breed 870-yard stakes race at Santa Rosa on July 27, and, while he wasn't meeting the best Quarter Horses around, Vaderator's performance in the Jack Robinson certainly gives Pederson another avenue. Winner of the Fairfax last year at Golden Gate Fields and then third in the California Sprint Championship at Bay Meadows, Vaderator could also be considered for the State Fair Sprint.