10/23/2005 11:00PM

Pair of 2-year-old fillies open some eyes


ALBANY, Calif. - The first two races at Golden Gate Fields opening day Wednesday were both pretty good stories.

A Lil' Alimony, an aptly named filly owned by the First Wives' Club - a group comprising five divorced women who got together to buy a horse - won the meet opener just as she had done last year.

In the second race, Hybird Diablo made things dicey for regular rider Frank Alvarado when she made a left-hand turn leaving the six-furlong chute. A 2-year-old filly, Hybird Diablo found herself last, nine lengths behind pacesetting Chulita, through the opening quarter. Somehow, she managed to rally and win the $40,000 starter allowance by 1 1/2 lengths, prompting track announcer Michael Wrona to say that even though it was opening day, Hybird Diablo might end up being the most impressive winner of the meet.

He was right - for almost 24 hours.

In the first race Thursday, Victorina, owned by Lost in the Fog's owner, Harry Aleo, pulled the same trick, ducking in sharply under Russell Baze in a six-furlong allowance race for 2-year-old fillies. Victorina got her act together quicker than Hybird Diablo and was actually third in a field of four at the half-mile pole. She pulled Baze to the lead and wound up winning by five lengths in 1:09.15, more than a second faster than Hybird Diablo.

Hybird Diablo, a $7,000 Barretts purchase last fall, has the makings of a useful runner. Victorina, a $160,000 Ocala purchase this spring, seems destined for a stakes career.

Victorina ran the same day Lost in the Fog had his final work for the Breeders' Cup. Golden Gate Fields advertised the work and opened the gates to fans, and more than 200 people turned out. Before Lost in the Fog's work, Aleo was jokingly asked how many people he thought would stay around to see next year's Kentucky Oaks winner in the first race.

All he did was smile.

College junior subs for Wrona

With Trevor Denman headed to New York for a Breeders' Cup assignment this weekend, Wrona will head south to call the races at Oak Tree on Friday and Saturday, when the feature race will be the $100,000 Morvich Handicap.

Wrona will be replaced at Golden Gate Fields by Jonathan Horowitz, a 20-year-old junior at USC who called a race on closing day of the meet here in June.

Wrona and Horowitz both said they are excited about their weekend assignments.

"I'm excited by the opportunity to call at such an historic site," Wrona said. "I really want to have a go at the downhill turf course. I'm excited I'll have a chance with the Morvich on Saturday."

Horowitz, who calls soccer matches for the USC student radio station, made his first call at age 14 at Los Alamitos. He called the Oak Tree Stakes at the Goodwood course in England at age 16. He did such a good job that he was invited back to call the race the next two years.

His call at Golden Gate Fields in June marked the 16th track at which he'd called a race.

"I'm real excited," Horowitz said. "I thought Golden Gate was one of the prettiest tracks I've ever been at. I've been fortunate to call races at many tracks, but I'm really looking forward to Friday. It will be the first chance I've had to do a full day of races and make all the announcements in between."

Schedule change on Cup Day

Golden Gate has adjusted its schedule for Breeders' Cup Day on Saturday. All gates will open at 8:30 a.m. It will carry the first race from Belmont at 9 a.m. and the first race from Santa Anita at 9:40 a.m. Instead of waiting until 12:45 p.m. for its first live race, Golden Gate has pushed the first post up to 11:30 a.m.

The first Breeders' Cup race is scheduled to be run at 10:20 a.m. with Lost in the Fog's race in the Sprint scheduled for 12:10 p.m.

Sausalito field has eight nominees

Only eight were nominated for Saturday's $50,000-added Sausalito Stakes. Stormin' Lyon, a late scratch from the Bay Meadows Speed Handicap, is a definite for the six-furlong race, and Halo Cat, runner-up in the Bay Meadows Speed Handicap to Lost in the Fog, was nominated as well.

Fillies and mares will compete for $100,000 Sunday in the Miss America Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Among the potential runners are Alozaina, Sparkling Humor, and Penny Ante, who were the top three finishers in the Autumn Leaves at Bay Meadows, and Somethinaboutlaura, winner of the Palo Alto at Bay Meadows and the lone 3-year-old among the 16 nominees.

The Grade 3, $100,000 Silky Sullivan, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds on Nov. 5, had 18 nominees, including Chinese Dragon, who hasn't raced since winning the Alcatraz here this spring.

* Wednesday's feature, a five-furlong maiden turf race for fillies and mares, drew a full field. Calamity Girl, second and third in her first two starts, should be the one to beat in the race, which drew three first-timers.