06/05/2002 12:00AM

Sharp runners aplenty in intriguing co-features


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Questions abound in Friday's co-features at Bay Meadows.

The evening's opening race is a 7 1/2-furlong starter allowance race on the turf for fillies and mares who have never won two races. Four of the five starters won or finished within a nose of winning their previous start.

The question to be answered in the first race is whether My Darling Brocco will finally find a way to win. She has been beaten by a nose at this level in her last two starts. Two starts back, she finished strongly while falling short by a nose. In her last start, she took the lead in the lane only to be caught at the wire.

Royal Visionary had similarly poor luck in her last start against $25,000 claimers on the turf after winning a maiden race for a $25,000 tag.

Caress the Wind earned her diploma in her last start, winning at one mile on the turf, while Summerfield won her debut on the dirt at Hollywood Park.

Angelica Park, the final entrant, pressed the pace before fading in a similar spot, but she defeated the favored Caress the Wind two starts back.

The other co-feature, the seventh race, is a six-furlong allowance race for 3-year-olds and up.

The race marks the return of talented and speedy Mt. Rainer, who will make his first start since Dec. 17.

Mt. Rainer has led to the stretch in all four of his starts. He finished third and second in his first two starts, trailing Texas Chili both times. He then earned a maiden win before fading late in a tough allowance race.

He has solid works for his comeback, including a 1:12.40 six-furlong work last Saturday.

He could have his hands full with Painted Avenue, claimed out of a victory for $25,000 at Hollywood Park. Prior to that start, Painted Avenue was a close fourth in the $70,000 Big Jag, also at Hollywood Park.

After being shuffled back and making a big finish in the Big Jag, Painted Avenue flashed speed in winning his last start. He was claimed by Dean Pederson, who has a 25 percent winning percentage and shows a flat-bet profit with his first-time starters after claims.

Mt. Rainer's stablemate, Water Czar, and De Witt also enter the race off wins. Water Czar has sandwiched a pair of victories around a start in which he stumbled coming out of the gate and lost his rider.

De Witt won his comeback for $16,000 after an eight-month layoff. He has won six of 16 starts.

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