05/27/2006 12:00AM

Oaks presents a new challenge


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Bai and Bai has been beating the odds throughout her racing career and will try to do it again Monday in the $100,000 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Oaks. The 1 1/16-mile turf race drew nine entrants.

Racing secretary Tom Doutrich put together a strong 10-race card Monday, which includes seven superfecta wagering opportunities.

Bai and Bai, a runner-up in her past two starts, will make her turf debut, but trainer Bill Delia has long felt that as a granddaughter of Lyphard she should like the surface.

"She's by Falstaff, and he seems to produce some good turf runners," Delia said.

Delia said his only concern is that Bai and Bai had trouble handling the Bay Meadows turf in her five-furlong work in 1:04 May 20. He was much more pleased with her first work on turf, a five-furlong move in 1:02.40 at Golden Gate Fields. But, he said, the grass was wet for her Bay Meadows drill, and he expects she will run better on a firm turf course on Monday.

For the most part, Delia has gotten good efforts from Bai and Bai, a California-bred $3,200 yearling purchase, since her fifth-place finish in a $32,000 claimer at Santa Rosa in her debut. She has earned $205,223, winning two stakes and placing second in three others.

Trying two turns for the first time after winning 2 of her first 3 starts, she lost to Sierra Sweetie in the Carmel here, but she turned the tables on Sierra Sweetie with a victory in the $125,000 California Cup Juvenile Fillies. She closed out her juvenile season with a sixth-place finish in the California Breeders' Championship, won by Sierra Sweetie.

In her first start at 3, Bai and Bai was third to Sierra Sweetie in the California Breeders' Cup Oaks at Golden Gate Fields. She won the Telegraph Hill at Golden Gate, which was originally scheduled for the turf, before losing the narrowest of decisions to Press Camp in the San Ramon there and then finishing a distant second to She's an Eleven in the $200,000 Melair at Hollywood Park.

Delia plans to give her a rest after Monday's race.

Bai and Bai's main rival in the Bay Meadows BC is Soothsay, the likely favorite, who defeated Royal Cheer by three-quarters of a length in the Montclair on the turf at Golden Gate Fields in her second U.S. start. Her Irish-bred stablemate Sol Mi Fa will make her U.S. debut here.

Hystericalady has been entered, but she may instead run in the Hollywood Oaks, said her trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer.