05/02/2005 12:00AM

New dates plan moves ahead


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Although it must be approved by the full California Horse Racing Board, a revised dates plan for northern California's summer and fall has won the approval of the board's Dates Committee.

The new dates plan became necessary when Cal Expo decided to race only harness horses this year, eliminating the track's 12-day State Fair Thoroughbred meeting, which had been scheduled for Aug. 24-Sept. 5.

Rather than distribute those 12 days to other fair tracks, the committee plan moves dates around to reduce overlaps between tracks and six-day racing weeks. As a result, the proposal cuts 12 cards from the northern California schedule.

Under the proposed rearrangement, the Bay Meadows Fair would shuffle its 12 days to avoid any six-day weeks. The Bay Meadows Fair originally was scheduled to start on Wednesday, Aug. 10, and run until Monday, Aug. 22, with only one dark day, Tuesday, Aug. 16. Instead, the Bay Meadows Fair would be dark on the two Mondays, Aug. 15 and Aug. 22, and run two five-day weeks, Wednesday through Sunday. To make up for the two Mondays, the track will also race on Wednesday, Aug. 25, and Thursday, Aug. 26.

The Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale would open on Thursday, Aug. 11, and run every day until it closes on Sunday, Aug. 21. Originally, Ferndale was scheduled to be dark on Monday, Aug. 15, but because the Bay Meadows Fair would now be dark on that day, Ferndale is scheduled to run.

The main Bay Meadows meet would now open on Friday, Aug. 26, instead of Saturday, Sept. 3. The four days the Bay Meadows meet would gain early in the meet from the new schedule (Aug. 26-28 and Sept. 2) would be lost again when the track is dark on Oct. 5-6 and 12-13, thus avoiding four overlapping days with the Big Fresno Fair.

It would also mean that Bay Meadows would have only a four-day week followed by a three-day week before Golden Gate Fields' Oct. 19 fall opening.

F. Jack Liebau, Bay Meadows Racing Associa-tion president, said the elimination of overlap days and six-day weeks would take pressure off the northern California horse population, a sentiment echoed by commissioner Richard Shapiro, who chairs the Dates Committee.

Lost in the Fog posts top workout

Undefeated Lost in the Fog, who will make his next start in the $150,000 Golden Bear Breeders' Cup Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on May 14, turned in a 59.40 five-furlong bullet drill on Sunday, the best of 40 at the distance.

Lost in the Fog may face Cajun Pepper in the Golden Bear. Cajun Pepper, undefeated sprinting, was scratched from Saturday's Gregson Foundation Sprint Stakes after becoming colicky on Friday. He was fine Saturday after treatment and may now be pointed to the Golden Bear, according to trainer Doug Utley, who has the reputation of a giant-killer in northern California.

Wind Water, the wire-to-wire Gregson winner, may also be considered for the Golden Bear, according to trainer Brian Koriner.

El Prado's Boy heads turf route

Six older runners meet in a $50,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf Wednesday as Bay Meadows begins its closing week.

El Prado's Boy had a three-race winning streak snapped by My Onomatopoeia in his last start. Although El Prado's Boy, a 4-year-old gelding, has not been worse than second in his past five starts trainer Steve Miyadi will add blinkers for this race.

El Prado's Boy wore blinkers for his first two starts, but this will be his first race with blinkers for Miyadi.

Direct Male, who has been meeting better down in Southern California, and Military Academy, who scored his seventh career victory in his last start, seem the primary rivals in the contentious field.

* The final Bay Meadows Friday-evening card last week attracted 6,818 fans, the largest Friday-night attendance since 7,010 showed up Feb. 10, 1995.