08/22/2007 11:00PM

No Grade 1 foes for Bai and Bai


DEL MAR, Calif. - After facing some of the top fillies and mares in California in recent starts, Bai and Bai will be favored to win her second stakes of the year in Saturday's $125,000 Solana Beach Handicap for statebred fillies and mares at Del Mar.

Bai and Bai's old rivals, the Grade 1 winners Nashoba's Key and Balance, are seeking more lucrative prizes this fall, leaving Bai and Bai as the favorite for the Solana Beach, run at a mile on turf.

Trainer Craig Dollase had considered Bai and Bai for the $85,000 Adoration Handicap next Thursday until he took a closer look at the probable starters for the Solana Beach.

"We're taking advantage of the Cal-breds," Dollase said. "We thought this race came up kind of weak and it's more money."

With 6 wins in 17 starts and earnings of $405,978, Bai and Bai is the most accomplished of the eight entrants. She is the 119-pound starting highweight, and is seeking her second stakes win on turf. She won the Palo Alto Handicap at Bay Meadows last November when trained by Bill Delia. Earlier this year, she won the Muir Woods Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

Bai and Bai joined Dollase's stable in the spring and has run second in two starts for him - the Alameda County Handicap at Pleasanton and the Grade 2 Clement Hirsch Handicap here on Aug. 5, finishing 1 1/2 lengths behind Nashoba's Key.

"She ran really well," Dollase said.

Owned by the Bob and Beverly Lewis Trust, Bai and Bai led through a slow pace in the Clement Hirsch, but is not expected to set the pace in the Solana Beach.

The field includes two 2006 stakes winners making their first starts of the year - defending champion Sip One for Mom and Special Heather, who has won her last four starts.

Sip One for Mom suffered a suspensory injury last fall, but has trained well for her comeback, according to owner Ben Warren. At the same time, Warren said, "I don't have the slightest idea" what to expect from Sip One for Mom in Saturday's race.

Special Heather won the California Cup Distance Handicap last October, but was found to have a shoulder injury after that race, according to trainer Paddy Gallagher. The injury did not require surgery.

Special Heather typically races near the lead. "She's fresh and she'll probably be up there," he said. "She may need the race."

The race marks the Del Mar turf debut of Gentle Charmer, who finished second by a nose in the Luther Burbank Handicap at Santa Rosa on July 28.

Spenditallbaby is definitely fit. Trained by Barry Abrams, Spenditallbaby is making her fourth start of the Del Mar meeting, a week after finishing a troubled seventh in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks.

"I want her to get a lucky trip, so she can show what she is," Abrams said. "It's always a concern when you bring them back in a hurry. There's no reason not to run."