Updated on 09/15/2011 2:41PM

Soggy turf or main track for Lafayette?


ALBANY, Calif. - There are two types of trainers waiting to welcome the New Year on Tuesday at Golden Gate Fields: those who are hoping the rains will continue and those who are hoping the rains will stop.

That's because Tuesday's $100,000 Lafayette Handicap is carded at one mile on the turf. Ten horses entered the race, whose turf status is in question. When the race is run, whether on dirt or turf, it's likely the field will be much smaller.

"I'm not running if it's on the grass," said local trainer Steve Specht, who entered I'madrifter. "I don't understand why they kept it listed on the turf. Even if it doesn't rain, there's no way the turf will dry out enough to run on it."

Tuesday's racing surface will undoubtedly be a raceday decision. "I'd say there will be scratches no matter what we decide," stakes coordinator Grant Baker said.

The three top-weighted horses are all shipping north from Southern California, which could prompt Golden Gate officials to try to keep the race on turf, if at all possible.

Co-highweights Fateful Dream and Takarian have only run on the turf. Devine Wind, another shipper, is a likely scratch if the race is moved to the main track, said trainer Nick Canani.

Devine Wind has not run since the May 5 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park when he finished fifth. Unlike Fateful Dream and Takarian, he has run on the main track before, recording three of his six career victories on the dirt. But he's never run on an off track.

"I'll probably only run if it goes on turf," Canani said. "He's coming off a layoff so it's not likely I'd want to go in the mud. I'm going to take a look at [the track], but my horse is definitely better on the grass."

Fateful Dream, trained by Bobby Frankel, had his two poorest performances on a soft course in France and a Santa Anita course labeled good.

Takarian has also shown a dislike for yielding courses. He was ninth, beaten 27 lengths on a yielding Arlington Park course in the Arlington Million, and he was sixth in the 2001 Lafayette on a yielding course here.

I'madrifter won his lone start on an off track in the Gold Rush at Golden Gate Fields as a 2-year-old. "I know my horse will handle mud," Specht said. "But I don't want his first start to be on soft turf."

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