08/13/2004 11:00PM

Quantity trumps quality

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DEL MAR, Calif. - There are 77 horses entered on Monday's eight-race program at Del Mar and they all are for sale. It wasn't supposed to be that way.

The list of races offered for Monday included an allowance race for fillies and mares over 1 1/8 miles on turf, but the race failed to draw sufficient entries.

Instead, bettors are treated to a program that includes four races for maiden claimers and four races for winners, ranging in claiming prices from $10,500 to $50,000.

The program is an accurate reflection of the current state of weekday racing in Southern California - plenty of maiden claimers, but sometimes not enough allowance races to satisfy the purists.

Still, there are plenty of betting opportunities. The races have drawn decent-sized fields, something that hasn't always been the case in California recently. Two of the races have drawn seven; the other six have fields ranging from eight to 13 entrants. The last race has drawn 13 maiden claimers, but the field will be limited to 12.

The day's top race is the seventh, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies eligible to be claimed for $45,000 to $50,000. With a $49,000 purse, the race still carries prize money higher than allowance races at most tracks.

The field of 10 includes five former European runners, including top contenders Allegedly, Bettys Tribute, and Lucayan Beauty.

is seeking her first win in the United States, having finished fifth once and seventh twice in her three American starts. David Hofmans trains Allegedly, who will be ridden for the first time by Kent Desormeaux.

Betty's Tribute was tried in stakes earlier this year, finishing sixth in the China Doll Stakes at Santa Anita in March. She subsequently finished eighth in a starter allowance on turf on June 30 and a troubled sixth in a $62,500 claiming race on July 30.

Kerwin John, who was aboard for the June 30 race, has the mount on Monday for trainer Jim Cassidy.

was trained by Cassidy until she was claimed by trainer Rafael Becerra for $50,000 on July 8. She won that race, over 1 1/16 miles on turf, by two lengths.