06/16/2005 11:00PM

Sabi Sand back off nice debut


ALBANY, Calif. - Golden Gate Fields closes a short but artistically successful spring meeting Sunday.

Field size has been good through most of the meet, as typified by the 114 entrants on the 11-race closing-day card.

Five of the races are on the turf, giving northern California runners a final opportunity to race on turf until Santa Rosa opens July 27.

Northern California's racing schedule that went into effect this year, split the long Golden Gate Fields season, and the track took advantage of the spring dates with a strong stakes schedule.

"Racing is a gambling product, but it also a sport," Golden Gate racing secretary Sean Greely said. "People want to see good horses run."

On the closing-day card there are several horses that could become stars.

Although Lost in the Fog has set extremely high, probably impossible-to-match standards for other northern California 3-year-olds, two top prospects meet in Sunday's most interesting race, a $40,000 optional claimer at six furlongs.

Sabi Sand, a $385,000 yearling purchase who was later bought at a dispersal sale by leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, comes in off a debut victory against 11 other 3-year-olds.

Although he broke a bit slowly and was blocked around the turn, ran professionally in his debut on June 4, waiting patiently and making a strong move along the rail to win by a length.

He may get a stern test Sunday from Compulsive, a $450,000 Ocala purchase last year. won his debut at Del Mar last August and is making his first start since then. He was so highly regarded that he was nominated to the Triple Crown. He has worked well for new trainer Tom Roberts, including a 59.60-second, best-of-25 bullet gate drill in June.

, a distant third to Lost in the Fog in the Golden Bear Breeders' Cup here, is also in the field and might give some perspective as to how these runners compare with Lost in the Fog.

Another threat could be Dynawhite, who is entered for a tag after scoring a wire-to-wire victory in his last start.