02/28/2005 1:00AM

Stellar Magic goes easy


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Stellar Magic had his first official work on Sunday since winning the San Mateo Mile on Feb. 12, a 1:17.40 six-furlong drill that was the slowest of six works at the distance at Bay Meadows.

Stellar Magic loped the first three furlongs in 41.20 seconds and ran his second three furlongs in 36.20.

His trainer, Brian Pitnick, said the slow start to the work was by design.

"The horse is fitter now, so I've purposefully lightened up on his training," he said. "We want to simulate the race experience and have him recognize the race starts at the three-eighths pole. We actually two-minute licked him the first half."

Pitnick worked Stellar Magic on Sunday to avoid scheduled rain, which hit hard after Sunday's race card concluded.

Pitnick said he was not worried about a wet track, but that the track would be sealed and be too hard.

Stellar Magic runs next in the El Camino Real Derby here March 12, and Pitnick said he is right on schedule.

"He had a little problem with his eye after being hit by a dirt clod in his last start, but this work has us ahead of the game now," he said. "We'll need only a half-mile work early next week to be ready. I'm very happy, but, more importantly, he's feeling good."

Mason saddles first winner

Ingrid Mason got the first training victory of her career Saturday with Tech Two, the only horse in her stable. Tech Two set the early pace, was headed by heavy favorite Leather Tough into the lane, but had his head in front by the eighth pole and was one length ahead at the finish line of the $5,000 claimer at six furlongs.

"He sure ran good," Mason said. "I thought he was dead when that other horse stuck his head in front, especially being on the inside."

Tech Two ran down on his back heels, which came back bloody.

Mason rode with limited success, admitting, "I basically trained and rode my own horses. I didn't get to ride enough to perform at my best."

She served as an assistant to Brian Koriner before going out on her own.

Mason will be in Florida this week, taking a working vacation to look for horses and weigh the possibility of moving there to train.

Moger has top pair

Trainer Ed Moger Jr., one of the hottest trainers at the meet, has the two to beat in Wednesday's feature, a $40,000 starter allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs. Moger is currently third in the standings with 10 victories from 39 starters, trailing only Jerry Hollendorfer and Art Sherman.

One of the pair, Zulu Dance, scored a solid victory Jan. 27 in a $30,000 maiden claimer, sitting off the pace and exploding late. He has a bullet work since that victory.

Moger also will send out Free American, who has been stuck at this level since his maiden victory but has four seconds, two thirds, and a fourth in his last seven tries.

Goodenuff for Gary, Double Jim, and Mr. Hawthorn also come into the race with only a maiden win.

* Apprentice Freddy Fong Jr. will miss this week, getting a five-day suspension for what the stewards said was "failure to maintain a proper effort to maintain a straight course leaving the starting gate" during his winning ride aboard Shootin'z Bull on Feb. 21. He may face additional days after being taken down from a victory Saturday.