07/26/2007 11:00PM

Pass the Heat returns to grass

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Turf racing was always in the plan for Pass the Heat.

The 4-year-old gelding's sire, Unusual Heat, has uncanny success with turf runners. His offspring have won 129 of

816 starts on turf, an excellent 15.8 percent success ratio.

His dam is by Pass the Glass, one of California's top turf sires.

Pass the Heat won his turf debut in his second start and returns to the turf again in Sunday's Sonoma County Fair feature, a 1 1/16-mile allowance race, against six foes.

Pass the Heat didn't debut until this year, winning a $20,000 maiden claimer at 5 1/2 furlongs in his first start. He then won a $40,000 starter allowance at one mile on the turf.

His last start, June 27 in a $25,000 optional claimer at Pleasanton, saw him disqualified from third to fifth for drifting in and bothering runners down the stretch as he tired.

"Hopefully, he won't behave like he did that day," trainer Bill Morey Jr. said. "He was almost too eager to run. He was a handful in the paddock and a jerk in the post parade. I think it cost him late."

Morey is happy to get Pass the Heat back on turf, although he is concerned his runner may not be at his best beyond one mile.

Morey said that trainer Barry Abrams, who owns a share of Unusual Heat, congratulated him on Pass the Heat's success.

"I told him that Unusual Heats seem to run on dirt like they're running on broken glass, but they really smooth out on turf," Morey said. "It's amazing how he's stamped his offspring."

Pass the Heat has worked three times since his last start, including a five-furlong 59.40 bullet at Santa Rosa.

Among Pass the Heat's primary rivals are Welfare Cadillac, coming off a 13-length starter allowance win after a 10-length defeat to Pass the Heat; Time to Honor, whose three victories have all come on the turf; and Cousin Joe, whose two wins have both come on turf.

* Morey is at Del Mar as he prepares Bold Chieftain for Friday's $125,000 California Dreamin' on the turf.

He said he would have rather run Bold Chieftain in the Joseph T. Grace here on Saturday, but that he decided to run at Del Mar when the purse for the Grace was cut from $100,000 to $50,000.