08/03/2004 11:00PM

'Razen' taking on two turns


SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Is Razen Hazen simply a horse for the course and therefore the one to beat in Friday's $40,000-added James F. Lyttle Memorial Handicap at the Sonoma County Fair on Friday?

The 3-year-old gelding made his debut at the fair last year, winning a $32,000 maiden claiming event. He came back the next week to win the Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes.

Although he has run well since, he has no other victories on his r?sum?. But that could change Friday when he tries two turns for the first time against six rivals in the 1 1/16-mile race.

"He don't ever quit," owner-trainer Dennis Ward said. "He always seems to come back at the wire, even when he loses."

Razen Hazen has started three times this year with a pair of seconds against his own age group and a solid third against older in a race won by stakes winner I B Bad in his last start.

"I don't think it's all that tough a race," Ward said. "It's a perfect spot to stretch out, although I'd rather be going a mile the first time."

Ward says Razen Hazen "loves the track," and, although he went wire-to-wire in his two wins last year, "I don't think he has to be on the lead."

He may not be with the presence of Jeffries Bay, who has a victory and two seconds in his three career starts and who will also be trying two turns for the first time. Jeffries Bay seems quicker than Razen Hazen. He came from off the pace to score an allowance win last time but was close early behind very fast fractions.

There are some other quick horses in the race, but none that can match their speed.

There is, however, a solid rival, who does have both two-turn and stakes experience.

Trevanian graduated in a sprint and then won so impressively at one mile that he was entered in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby. He didn't fire that day after racing four-and-five wide around both turns, but he ran a respectable race after a three-month layoff following the El Camino.

He broke slowly from the rail and was never a factor behind stakes-winning Stormin' Lyon and Razen Hazen, but did finish well, and he has worked well since.

"He's better going long, and that's always been the long-range plan with him," trainer Dennis Patterson said.

Trevanian drew the rail and has speed to sit in good position behind the leaders.