03/14/2008 11:00PM

Plenty of interest in turf claimer


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Bay Meadows will be trying to take full advantage of its turf course during the final two months of the current meeting. The course opened for racing last Saturday, marking the first turf racing in Northern California since last fall at Golden Gate Fields.

Three turf races were scheduled on Monday's eight-race card. A one mile race for a $6,250 tag drew 24 entrants and was split into three divisions, each with a field of eight.

"Getting the turf will give us a little bump in our entries," racing secretary Tom Doutrich said.

Two turf races were carded Saturday and Sunday. Both of Saturday's races drew nine entrants, while both of Sunday's drew eight. Thus far, all seven turf races have been able to offer superfectas, which need eight entrants to be run.

Two of Saturday's dirt races, including the $125,000 Grade 3 Bay Meadows Sprint, had only five entrants, and two of Monday's races have only five entrants.

Only 44 runners started here Thursday, an average of 5 1/2 horses per race. There were 56 starters Friday, an average of seven per race.

Although Monday's races are all for $6,250 tags, two have stakes winners entered, while the third has a runner that has multiple stakes placings.

Multiple stakes winner Sharp Writer won the 2006 Walnut Creek Stakes on the turf at Golden Gate Fields and also ran second in the San Matean, losing by a head on the turf at Bay Meadows. He is only two races removed from running in a Grade 3 stakes.

His primary competition in the second race could come from Sands of Time, who has scored 12 career victories on turf.

In the fifth, Houseofroyalhearts has only one turf victory, but it came in the Restoration Stakes at Monmouth in 2005. He, too, has a rival with double-figure wins, Sixty Two Lincoln, who has 10 turf victories, five over the Bay Meadows turf course.

In the eighth, We All Love Aleyna, who has placed in multiple turf stakes, will compete.

Suspended trainer reinstated

Suspended owner-trainer Ingrid Mason was reinstated by Bay Meadows stewards following payment of a $4,000 fine. Mason had failing to appear at a March 30, 2006, hearing in connection with a 2001 medication violation involving Shawo Mountain, who tested positive for the sedative meprobamate, a Class 2 violation, after winning the fifth race at Golden Gate Fields on Jan. 28, 2001. Meprobamate is found in the muscle relaxant carisoprodol, which Mason acknowledged administering to Shawo Mountain.