04/30/2003 11:00PM

Speedy Marty's Zee wants it dry


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Bay Meadows racing officials face a problem that has become all too familiar for them with Saturday's $60,000-added Santa Clara Handicap.

Eleven fillies and mares were nominated for the one-mile race, but track conditions may ultimately determine the field size, as continued unseasonable rains remain in the forecast.

Trainer Bill Mahorney entered Marty's Zee in the race. He wants to run her, but he may scratch her Saturday after assessing track conditions following predicted heavy rainfall Friday and more showers Saturday morning.

"I've entered her, and I'll ship her. She will be ready," said Mahorney, an ex-jockey who stables year-round at Golden Gate Fields. "I'll be there to monitor the track Saturday morning and during the early races.

"I've had her 4 1/2 years, and I know her inside out. I'm the one who gets on her in the morning. I know what she likes.

"I probably should have entered her in that turf race [the five-furlong Woodside Handicap on April 20], but it was too close to this one, and who expected the weather to be like this? It rained 17 days in April."

Mahorney said that Marty's Zee doesn't like wet surfaces on which her feet slip.

"That kind of track messes her stride up, and that's when horses can get hurt," he said. "I don't want to take a chance. I have to do what's best for the horse."

Marty's Zee has sprinter's speed, but she has run very well at a mile.

"Her Beyers show her best races are at a mile," Mahorney said. "She's a trier. She'll run a mile."

After a second-place finish in her first mile race early in her career at Del Mar, Marty's Zee won her second start at one mile last Aug. 30 at Bay Meadows and was claimed for $40,000. She subsequently ran last to De Goddaughter in the one-mile Autumn Leaves Handicap at Bay Meadows after setting the pace.

Mahorney claimed her back for owner Martin Bach for $50,000 in her next start on Nov. 14. She has run once since, winning a $50,000 optional claiming sprint at Golden Gate Fields on March 6.

"She was still strong at the finish," Mahorney said. She went her final quarter in 24.07 seconds.

Marty's Zee should be able to make the lead in the race. Among the nominees, Miss Guts, Grand Caro Lynn, Two Four Dancer, Que Facil Corazon, and Prenuptial Plans have shown speed.

"My mare's nice although maybe not top quality," Mahorney said. "But if she gets the half in 46 [seconds], you can't outrun her."