06/19/2006 12:00AM

Solano board rejects plan for development


The future of racing at the Solano County Fair in Vallejo, Calif., has seemed precarious in recent years, but a decision by the county fair board last week seems likely to ensure long-term racing there.

The board rejected a plan that would have developed the fair and racetrack property into a retail and entertainment center, leading to the demise of racing at the fair. The board had been involved with the real estate company Mills Corp. over the past several years, working on a redevelopment project for the fairgrounds and racetrack.

The board had rejected the development's financial plan in February, but gave Mills an extension to come up with additional financing for the project.

The plan will still be submitted to the Solano County board of supervisors, but is unlikely to pass, given the fair board's rejection of the plan.

While there still seems to be interest in developing and revitalizing the fairgrounds property, located between Interstate 80 and a mammoth amusement park, racing may be a part in any new development plans.

"We have no plans to discontinue racing," the fair's general manager, Joe Barkett, said.

This year's Solano County Fair meet runs from July 12-24.

Fairs willing to fill in for Bay Meadows

The Solano County Fair, as well as the rest of the state's fair tracks, may end up filling a void in racing dates if the Bay Meadows Land Co.'s long-term plans to redevelop Bay Meadows - and possibly end racing there - come to fruition. With the recent California Horse Racing Board mandate that all major racetracks in the state change to a synthetic surface, operating a racetrack in the state has gotten even more expensive.

Barkett said northern California's racing fairs are logical venues to pick up racing dates should they become available. The fairs, he pointed out, are publicly owned and sit on public land, and private land is growing increasingly expensive.

"The future may be in publicly owned facilities," he said.

Barkett said that the fairs are trying to work together to improve the quality of racing on the circuit and that there have been discussions among all race entities in northern California on how to improve racing in the region.

Cloned mules in rematch

Idaho Gem and Idaho Star, the cloned mules that both won their debuts in races earlier this month in Nevada, will meet for the second time Wednesday at the San Joaquin County Fair.

Both were cloned from a full brother to Taz, the top adversary of legendary champion Black Ruby. After winning their debuts, the two met in the Humboldt Futurity, with Idaho Gem finishing third behind the winner, Bar JF Hot Ticket, with Idaho Star seventh.

Don Jacklin, heavily involved in the cloning project with researchers at the University of Idaho, runs Idaho Gem. Roger Downey runs Idaho Star.

Three mules were cloned, with the University of Idaho retaining one for study and the other two sent to different trainers.

Bay Meadows ends with familiar names on top

Jerry Hollendorfer and Russell Baze maintained their dominance at Bay Meadows during the spring meeting. Hollendorfer won his 33rd straight Bay Meadows training title, while Baze won his 36th riding title.

Hollendorfer had 24 wins, six more than Art Sherman and eight ahead of Steve Miyadi.

Baze wound up with 40 wins, nine ahead of apprentice Luis Martinez.

* Jockey Catalino Martinez will not ride at Stockton as he continues the first of two suspensions from the end of the Bay Meadows meeting. Martinez was suspended a total of eight days for two incidents where he was cited for interference.

* Trainer Ed Moger Jr. said Zoning In, winner of Saturday's Malcolm Anderson, would be pointed to Cal-bred 2-year-old races at Del Mar but probably would be nominated to the Everett Nevin-Alameda County Futurity at Pleasanton.

* Sherman will take a string of 10 horses, including stakes winners Siren Lure and Carthage, to Hollywood Park. Sherman said he is leaning more to running Carthage in the Bing Crosby at Del Mar than flying cross-country to compete in the Smile on the July 15 Summit of Speed card at Calder.