08/08/2004 11:00PM

No stakes in secretary's last meet

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Tom Doutrich will bow out after one year as the racing secretary at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields after the Bay Meadows Fair, which opens Wednesday.

Doutrich resigned and will return to being a jockey agent for Chance Rollins after the two-week fair meeting, the toughest meet of the year for any racing secretary.

"I didn't want to be the racing secretary for over 200 days a year," Doutrich said. "If you look at most racing secretaries around the nation, you'll see they do the job only 100 or so days a year."

Doutrich felt an obligation to Magna Entertainment Corp., which hired him one year ago to conduct the Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields meetings, to stay for the two-week run of the fair.

The Bay Meadows Fair has eliminated all stakes races this year after cutting back to only one last year. Its purse schedule is lower than the recently concluded Santa Rosa meeting and the upcoming State Fair meet at Sacramento, which gets purse subsidies from the state because of its overlap with the regular Bay Meadows meet starting Labor Day weekend.

"It's ugly," Doutrich said. "Guys are getting a lot of stalls because of the people who are here regularly. We have some horses at Del Mar, others have gone to Ferndale, and some go straight to Sacramento."

Even horsemen regularly based at Bay Meadows often use this time to freshen their horses a bit.

"I'm glad to be going home, but I have three horses sitting on wins and because of purses I'm waiting for Sacramento," one trainer said.

Opening-day purses total only $92,500 for eight races, and no non-Thoroughbred races were carded. Despite its designation as a fair meeting, the Bay Meadows Fair is unlikely to hold a non-Thoroughbred race.

Doutrich plans better races for the second week of the meeting and hopes to put together a strong card for Del Mar's Pacific Classic Day.

"The second week, we'll try to run things for better horses to prepare them for the main meet," he said.

Purses are tied directly to handle, and the total handle at the Bay Meadows Fair last year, including the northern California satellite network, out-of-state betting, and advance-deposit wagering was nearly $4 million less than Santa Rosa's, despite the fact that ontrack handle was nearly $1.2 million higher.

Only 51 horses were entered for Wednesday, including five in the feature, a $32,000 claimer at six furlongs. That race is headed by Operatic, who makes his first start for a tag and seems the one to beat.

At a glance:

Bay Meadows Fair

RACING SCHEDULE: 12 days - Aug 11-23. Dark Tuesday, Aug. 17

POST TIME: 11:45 p.m. weekdays; 1:15 p.m. weekends

ADMISSIONS: $3 general; $6 clubhouse (reserved seating $3).

PARKING: $7 preferred; $4 general

LOCATION: 2495 South Delaware St., San Mateo, CA.

PHONE: (650) 574-3247

INTERNET: www.sanmateocountyfair.com or www.baymeadows.com