08/17/2003 11:00PM

Several promotions aim to boost entries


SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The daily racing promotion for the California State Fair is called "Let It Roll."

And director of racing David Elliott is incorporating that philosophy into the 12 days of racing that begin Wednesday.

The State Fair is providing a free shuttle service for trainers at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows who enter horses. The shuttle will be available every day from Golden Gate Fields and the first eight days of the meeting from Bay Meadows, before the fall Bay Meadows meet begins on Aug. 29.

Although some fresh horses from Idaho and Utah are already on the grounds, Elliott wants to do everything he can to fill races.

"We have more horses here early than in past years," he said. "Because of the overlap with Bay Meadows, we need the emerging breeds, but their numbers are down in the Quarter Horses and Appaloosas. Every fair used more Thoroughbred races this year."

Elliott hopes the free shuttle service will attract more entrants, but he has other plans to encourage trainers to participate in the meet.

The State Fair will again offer a $40,000 Thoroughbred trainers' contest and $5,000 trainers' contest for emerging breeds.

Trainers receive 2 points for each starter - up to 48 points - as well as 6 points for a victory, 3 for a second, 2 for a third, and 1 for a fourth. The leading trainer receives $15,000, with $7,500 for second, and $5,000 for third, down to $500 for the 11th through 15th places.

Rules are similar for the emerging breeds, with a 24-point cap for starters. The leading trainer will receive $2,000, with $1,250, $900, $500, and $350 prizes for second through fifth.

Two special races have been written, one at a mile and one at six furlongs, offering $4,000 claimers a purse of $13,500. The State Fair Bonus Mile on Friday and State Fair Bonus Sprint on Sunday are for horses who have started on the fair circuit and have finished first, second, or third in one of their past three starts.

"We're trying to create some excitement and a good betting race," Elliott said.

For fans, the Golden State Rewards Network will offer double points in the northern California system on all of Wednesday's State Fair races.

The "Let It Roll" promotion will offer five fans a $100 mutuel ticket to play in the third race. Winning fans can play any horse to win, place, or show and can pocket up to 50 percent of their winnings on the race or let the gross roll over to another race, where they again have the option of betting win, place, or show.

They can pocket up to 75 percent of their winnings after that race or roll everything over to a third race, where they can again bet win, place, or show. After the third race, they may keep all their winnings.

Handicapping seminars will be held here on the weekends.

At a glance:

Calif. State Fair (Sacramento)

RACING SCHEDULE: Aug. 20-Sept. 1 (dark Aug. 26)

POST TIME: 1 p.m. daily, 2:30 p.m. Friday, Noon on Sunday, Aug. 24


PARKING: $6 general, $10 preferred.

KEY STAKES: Aug. 23 - Governor's Handicap (3 YO & Up, 1 1/8 miles) $60,000; Aug. 24 - Earlene McCabe Derby (3 YO Cal-bred, 6 furlongs) $50,000-added

LOCATION: 1600 Exposition Blvd.

SIMULCASTING: Daily except Tuesday.

PHONE: (916) 263-3000

INTERNET: www.bigfun.org