10/16/2002 11:00PM

Race calendar status quo


ARCADIA, Calif. - The California Horse Racing Board ratified a racing calendar for 2003 at a monthly meeting on Thursday, making only minor revisions from the 2002 schedule.

The racing calender in California begins the day after Christmas with the start of the winter-spring meetings at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields. Thursday, dates were issued up to Christmastime 2003.

"It's essentially the same calender as last year," said CHRB spokesman Mike Marten.

In 2002-2003, Santa Anita will run 85 days until April 20. Hollywood Park will start a 65-day spring-summer meeting on April 23 and finish on July 20, while Del Mar will run a 43-day summer meeting from July 23 to Sept. 10.

The board issued 17 racing days for the Los Angeles County Fair from Sept. 12-28, stating that the dates be conducted at Fairplex Park in Pomona, Marten said. Earlier this year, Los Angeles County Fair was denied a request to move the Fairplex Park meeting to Santa Anita. The dates were run at Fairplex Park.

The Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita, which includes the Breeders' Cup, will run for 31 days from Oct. 1 to Nov. 9. The 30-day Hollywood Park fall meeting starts on Nov. 12 and ends on Dec. 21.

In northern California, Golden Gate Fields runs for 70 days from Dec. 26 through March 30 and will have a 35-day fall meeting from Nov. 5 through Dec. 31. Bay Meadows will have two meetings - a 55-day session from April 2 to June 15 and a 50-day summer-fall meeting from Aug. 29 to Nov. 2.

The fair circuit begins at Stockton on June 11 and runs through Fresno on Oct. 13, operating at eight venues. The Solano County Fair in Vallejo will run 10 days, from July 9-20, one fewer day than this year.

There will be 208 days of Quarter Horse racing at Los Alamitos from Dec. 26, 2002 to Dec. 21, 2003.

Omega Code awaits Arlington stakes

Omega Code, who set a six-furlong track record of 1:07.70 in his last start at Fresno, will pass Saturday's $75,000 Sunny Slope Stakes and be pointed for the $100,000 Gilded Time Stakes over seven furlongs at Arlington Park on Oct. 25, trainer Wesley Ward said.

Ward, who co-owns Omega Code, said he was considering the Sunny Slope Stakes until Thursday when he said he was unable to reach all of his partners to discuss the entry. Because the Sunny Slope Stakes is an overnight stakes, Omega Code would have been obligated to run and not entitled to the scratch rule for stakes, which allows horses to be removed from races worth $100,000 or more up to one hour before post time without an excuse.

"I don't want to risk it and not be able to get out," Ward said.

Omega Code won the Ron and Jess Cloud Memorial Stakes at the Big Fresno Fair on Oct. 5.

"He's the best 2-year-old I've ever trained," Ward said.

Wednesday target date for Nakatani

Corey Nakatani will not ride until next Wednesday because of the effects of a back injury suffered in a spill last Sunday, according to his agent, Bob Meldahl. He has not ridden since the spill.

"We think it's better to wait and be 100 percent," Meldahl said. "We

didn't think it would be fair to the owners and trainers."

Meldahl said the injury would not interfere with Nakatani's plans for the Breeders' Cup. So far, Nakatani is booked to ride Momentum in the Classic, Forbidden Apple in the Mile, and Swept Overboard in the Sprint.

Meldahl said Nakatani is scheduled to work Momentum on Saturday.

A winner of five Breeders' Cup races, Nakatani will ride at Santa Anita on Wednesday and Thursday and use Friday as a travel day to Chicago.

'Moondancer' in allowance

Dark Moondancer, a three-time stakes winner in 2000 who has made one start in the last two years, returns in a $65,000 allowance race over 1 1/8 miles on turf on Saturday.

A 7-year-old trained by Ron McAnally, Dark Moondancer has made one start this year, finishing ninth in an allowance race last January. His career has been plagued by injuries since the summer of 2000.

A stakes winner in Europe before arriving in this country, Dark Moondancer won the San Luis Obispo and American handicaps and the San Luis Rey Stakes in 2000.

In Saturday's race, Dark Moondancer faces Devine Wind, Last Parade, Little Ghazi, Sigfreto, and Williams News.