01/22/2003 12:00AM

No turf races available, so Morey colt going on dirt

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ALBANY, Calif. - If he had his way, veteran trainer Bill Morey Jr. would be running Winning Stripes on the turf instead of on the main track in Friday's Golden Gate Fields feature race.

Winning Stripes won his maiden in a spirited stretch duel with Direct Male in a one-mile turf race here on Nov. 28.

"I've been waiting to run on the turf," said Morey. "They've had a race listed on the turf, but they couldn't get it to go, and that's surprising because turf races usually fill pretty well here."

Winning Stripes still looks like the horse to beat in a one-mile $50,000 optional claimer for 3-year-olds, despite the move back to the main track. He'll face five rivals, including Rapier Dance, who recently graduated at the distance over a sloppy track, and Blue Seti, who earned his diploma at 1 1/16 miles in his last start, a $28,000 maiden claimer at Hollywood Park.

Winning Stripes, a $50,000 Del Mar yearling sale purchase, may be better on the grass.

"We really wanted two turns and the turf for him," Morey said. "His brother won a stakes on the turf. I wish he'd grown a little taller, but he's a pretty horse and nice to train."

Winning Stripes has a steady work pattern and is more than ready to run again, so Morey decided to wait no longer for a grass race.

"There's been nowhere to run other than $25,000 claimers or stakes, and I don't think he fits either one," Morey said.

Winning Stripes was third to Buddy Gil in a fast mile in his last start on the dirt in October. Buddy Gil went on to win an ungraded stakes at Golden Gate in November. On Friday, Winning Stripes will likely sit behind sprinters Mr. Elusive and Bridge Builder and Blue Seti early as he and Rapier Dance stalk ahead of late-running Manhattan Express.

New apprentice Carreno arrives

Nineteen-year-old apprentice Jorge Carreno of Mexico has joined the local jockey colony. Brad Pegram is his agent.

Carreno won 34 races last summer at Arlington Park in Chicago and one in Southern California.

"I thought I'd have more chances [to ride] here than at Santa Anita," Carreno said.

Although he had ridden only three races through last weekend, Carreno is busy getting on horses at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows in the morning to introduce himself to trainers.

"I'm meeting people," he said. "I just ride hard. I try to do the best I can and do what trainers want."

Carreno said he raced everything from horses to donkeys growing up in Mexico and loves his profession.

"I feel happy when I go to the gate," he said. "I love riding."