09/20/2004 12:00AM

Schedule may alter Wind Water's plans

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Brian Koriner said he was not surprised by Wind Water's wire-to-wire victory in the San Mateo Stakes at Bay Meadows on Saturday.

Wind Water was third in the Malcolm Anderson in his debut and won the Everett Nevin-Alameda County Futurity in his next start.

But while the victory did not surprise him, Koriner was surprised by how easily Wind Water made the lead.

"I thought somebody would go with him," Koriner said.

Wind Water led by two at the half-mile pole, three at the quarter pole, 3 1/2 at the eighth pole, and five at the finish.

"He really looked strong," said Koriner.

Normally, at this time of year, a trainer's thoughts turn to stretching young runners out and possibly taking some tentative steps along the Derby trail. But Koriner is taking a different path with Wind Water.

"I don't think he'll ever be that kind of horse," said Koriner, adding that there's nothing wrong with having an outstanding sprinter.

If he did want to stretch Wind Water out, though, Koriner's chances of doing so at Bay Meadows evaporated shortly before the meet began, when the stakes schedule was changed. Although the stakes schedule was released and printed on the track's pocket calendars, two one-mile stakes for 2-year-olds, the $55,000-added Bay Meadows Juvenile Stakes and the $55,000 Bay Meadows Lassie, were removed from the schedule at the last minute. They may be added to the Golden Gate Fields stakes schedule.

Koriner said he is worried about the elimination of 2-year-old stakes races.

"I enjoy going to sales and getting people to spend good money on young horses," he said. "With 2-year-olds, if opportunities are limited here, you may have nowhere to go. You'd almost be better off not starting your better 2-year-olds until September so they could run through their conditions.

"Wind Water is done in northern California. I'm stuck because he's out of conditions. I'll have to look at national condition books."

Weekend stakes

Stablemates Marwood and Cat Alert, as well as Sea Jewel and A B Noodle - the first four finishers in the Autumn Leaves Handicap Sept. 4 - are among the 17 nominees for Saturday's $55,000-added Hillsborough Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Marwood has been no worse than second in five straight stakes appearances and has won three straight (one on a disqualification). Cat Alert was second to Marwood in the Autumn Leaves after experiencing traffic problems at the eighth pole.

A B Noodle, who was making her first start in more than three months in the Autumn Leaves, set a brisk pace that day before fading.

On Sunday, Christmas Time and Pheiffer will renew their rivalry in the $55,000-added Charles H. Russell Handicap at six furlongs. In their last meeting in July, they ran one-two in the Vacaville at Solano, with Pheiffer getting the victory.

The two have already met six times this year, with Christmas Time holding a 4-2 lead. Both have won two stakes this year.