11/26/2007 1:00AM

Pass the Heat faces stakes-class field

EmailALBANY, Calif. - A stakes race at Golden Gate Fields on a Wednesday?

Not exactly, but Wednesday's feature is a stakes by any other name. Technically, it's a $40,000 allowance race at one mile on the turf, but it has attracted four multiple stakes winners, two of them Grade 3 winners.

The field includes Epic Power, who ran second as the defending champ in the California Cup Mile on Nov. 3 at Oak Tree and earlier this year scored back-to-back victories in the Khaled and the Korbel on the turf at Hollywood Park; the 3-year-old Bwana Bull, who won the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby and the California Derby earlier this year; Now Victory, who won the Grade 3 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap two races back on Sept. 22; Pass the Heat, who won the Bull Dog in his stakes debut at Fresno in his last start; and the multiple stakes winner Norm's Nephew.

"This is a tough race," said Bill Morey Jr., trainer of Pass the Heat. "It came up extremely tough. I don't think anybody expected a field like this."

The race will give Morey a gauge on how good Pass the Heat really is. He has won 5 of 6 starts, including all three of his races on the turf.

"We're really stepping up," Morey said, "but you've got to give your horse a chance. Can he handle this type of competition? Let's hope so. I think he's a Northern California horse. The Southern California horses are another little step up, but that's something we might get a line on, too."

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has entered Bwana Bull, who will be meeting older for the first time as well as making his turf debut.

"We want to see how he'll handle the turf," Hollendorfer said.

Norm's Nephew, who won his comeback in a sprint here on Nov. 8, makes his turf debut, as does Timeless Passion.

Two seasons yield two good runners

When Kjell Qvale purchased Exquisite Love as a broodmare prospect, he was promised a breeding to Benchmark. A season to the young Storm Cat stallion Tribal Rule was also thrown in.

The breeding to Benchmark produced Saipan, a 2-year-old gelding who won his debut on Nov. 10, rallying from off the pace to win a five-furlong maiden race.

The breeding to Tribal Rule produced Tribesman, a 3-year-old who won his stakes debut on Friday, beating older horses in the Sausalito Stakes at six furlongs. He set sizzling fractions of 21.51 seconds, 43.50, and 55.40 en route to a 1 1/2-length victory in 1:08.32, the fastest six-furlong time in the first three weeks of running on the Tapeta surface.

Trainer Roger Hansen said he wasn't sure where Tribesman would run next.

Fort Funston will point for Fog

Trainer Greg Gilchrist said that Fort Funston, who won a six-furlong allowance race last Thursday, would likely be pointed to the 6 1/2-furlong Lost in the Fog Stakes on Dec. 29 at Turf Paradise.

Gilchrist said that Sky Mystic, who has won two straight routes, will be nominated to the one-mile Corte Madera for 2-year-old fillies here on Dec. 8.

Deputy Bertrando, the runner-up to Fort Funston, is being pointed to the one-mile Gold Rush here on Dec. 15, said trainer Jeff Bonde.

* Fifteen Cal-bred fillies and mares were nominated to Saturday's $75,000 Pacific Heights at 1 1/16 miles. Multiple stakes winner Somethinaboutlaura is the top nominee.

* Trainer Gary Stute was fined $3,000 by the Golden Gate Fields stewards because Theory exceeded the total carbon dioxide limit after finishing third in the sixth race at Bay Meadows on Feb. 28. Theory was disqualified and the purse redistributed in an earlier hearing.